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Google Social Search out of Labs, into beta

Friends on social-networking services who add links to their content inside their Google Profiles will start showing up in search results for Google users.

Friends with Google Profiles linked to social-networking accounts like Flickr could start showing up in Google search results.

Google's Social Search product is ready for wider testing.

First announced back at the Web 2.0 conference, Social Search allows Google searchers to link their Google Profile with the various profiles they have on social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Google launched it as a Google Labs project, but it's now going to be available to the wider Google user base, the company announced Wednesday.

In short, Google Social Search allows you to customize your search results with content produced by those in your online social circle. But it requires everybody in that social circle to buy into the program: they have to add links to the content they produce through Blogger, Twitter, Facebook, and the like to their Google Profiles in order for it to show up in the searches you do for a given topic.

This will also work for Image Search, if your friends have added their Flickr or Picasa accounts to their Google Profiles. Google said the features will be rolling out over the next several days for searchers who are signed into Google.

Google appears ready to ramp up its investment in social-networking technologies and services this year, creating a Social Web Team with recent hires such as Joseph Smarr and Chris Messina.