Google Buys an Aardvark to Improve Social Networking

Social networking is a critical tool when it comes to marketing for small business, and savvy small business owners would do well to heed the social networking features that Google has been adding to Gmail. has the details on an acquisition that will add social search to the marketing mix.

Google has moved quickly to match moves by Microsoft and Yahoo in the social media space, adding Twitter feeds and other social content to its search results and its Gmail service. Now the company has acquired Aardvark, reportedly for $50 million, a startup whose founders include former Googlers.

Rather than the pure math-driven algorithms behind Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) results, Aardvark employs what it calls social search. The service is designed to connect registered users with the right person in the online network for answers to any of a wide range of queries from travel tips, restaurant and product review recommendations to career and relationship advice.

“Sometimes you want a person, not a Web page, to answer your question,” Aardvark said in a blog post announcing the deal. “We’re extremely excited that Google shares our vision for how search can continue to evolve by including social features.”

Read the complete Google Gmail and social networking article

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