Google+’s Sparks feature disappoints: Comparing Aggregation and Semantics across Major Social Media Players

While Techvibes’ Knowlton Thomas reported that Google + reached 10 million users in 16 days, let’s not jump the gun and call Google’s latest foray into social media a smashing success yet.

I wasn’t impressed by Google Sparks, a feature released in Google+, which shows results based on keywords that you search, but the depth of the results are terrible, and not remotely comparable to Google News.

Matthew Ingram, beat writer at Gigaom says that one part of the future of media certainly is aggregation, but realistically, it’s already here and has been for quite some time.

While the depth of results is great on Google News by search, aggregators took on a different approach. Alltop lists topics and relevant sites and their latest five articles where you can find information within that category, while Equentia’s Portal is a semantic news aggregator for the latest articles on buzzwords.

LinkedIn is different in the sense that their aggregator lists the most socially shared articles throughout the networking site. You can also search using the “Signal” functionality to search for any other articles that have been shared via a number of options.

Facebook allows you to search their social network for relevant keywords, but only gives you a limited number of results.  

If you’ve noticed, social search is no longer there on Google, so we’re forced to use platforms like CoTweet to search for relevant results on Twitter, for Twitter itself generally only shows you the “top results”, not all results. Twitter searching has also become more difficult for most with Google recently removing  social search from their engine, after a two year partnership with Twitter expired.

After all, Google did say that the latest version of social search was really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what was possible, and you can see why with the varied different approaches taken by the major social media players.

I would say that LinkedIn is the only major social network that has gotten aggregation and social right, for they aggregate the most socially shared results by topic, and allow you to search in-depth as possible.

LinkedIn Winning For Now, Others Lagging Behind

While social media initially allows us to connect with those in our “circles” and advertises other things and people to connect with based on our likes and interests, I’ve yet to see the major social networks unveil anything that truly harnesses the power of the semantic web on a large scale other than LinkedIn. 

That means there is room for new and improved social networks as there just seems to be bits and pieces of semantic brilliance out there. In the coming days I’ll bring to light some North American start-ups that are bringing to light different ways the semantic web can be used to connect with people and get information that we couldn’t otherwise find within our own circles.

Facebook and Google haven’t quite stepped up their game semantically like LinkedIn, for Facebook has a low rate of customer satisfaction. 

We have witnessed the fall of MySpace already- for social networks have become aggregators that showcase the best of the most vibrant communities across the web. 

The future is finding different ways to connect people with information semantically, while combining various elements of social, and through various mobile media technologies. Mobile has created the most direct and one-to-one way to spread information. That’s because it’s now possible to spread such information in an offline to online continuous circle. 

But wow, there are so many creative ways to do the latter. If Google + can figure out some more of those creative ways with their platform, maybe, just maybe will they be successful this time around in social media. 

Regardless, semantics certainly opens up the door for new players, and later this week I’ll get into how some of these new start-ups are uniquely combining aggregation with social and semantics.