Google Acquires Aardvark, Beefs up Social Search?

Google is on a social roll. After announcing social sharing feature Buzz in Gmail, they now have announced the acquisition of Aardvark, a social media search startup. Aardvark is a sort of mashup between services like KGB and Yahoo! Answers. You type a question (from the web, IM, email, Twitter, or iPhone), and Aardvark taps the social Web to find the best person to answer that question. Of course, we won't know exactly how Google will use Aardvark. But if Google Social Search is any indication of where they are headed, it's not hard to imagine this acquisition will support those efforts.

According to Aardvark's FAQs, when you ask a question:

Aardvark then searches through all of the people in your network who are available over IM or email to find the right match for you for that topic. Aardvark considers...

  • related topics in people's profiles
  • how you're connected to people
  • who you trust about related topics
  • your history of training Aardvark
  • people who share your favorites (for taste-related questions)
  • people in the right location (for location-related questions)
  • other mysterious factors...

What's interesting to note is that answers are coming from people in your social network, so to speak. You can also connect to Aardvark through Facebook connect. That's rather interesting, as Google currently does not index profile content from Facebook. Is this a workaround to tapping Facebook for search results ... and more?

Whatever the case may be, now that Google is involved, it's a good time to put Aardvark on your radar. Should this become a part of Google's search arsenal, you will want to be in the mix.