But don't call Delver a "social search engine."
"That name belongs to services like Mahalo," says Liad Agmon, Delver CEO. "We prefer the term 'socially connected search engine'." That term makes sense because Delver is not a social network built around a search engine, but a search engine who indexes and queries your social network to deliver its results. Instead of just looking at a web site's popularity, Delver looks at information like whether your friends have tagged the site or if it's found on their social network profiles, bookmarking sites, photos and video sharing sites, or on their blogs. The results are more relevant because they account for who a person is and what they find valuable.
Agmon adds, "People want trusted information from their friends, but may not know who in their network is knowledgeable about a given topic. We make Web search more fun and meaningful by prioritizing results based on a user's network, while enabling the user to discover others in their extended network who share common interests."
Even without registering for an account, Delver will try to determine who you are by searching any public social network profiles you may have on sites like Flickr, Facebook, and YouTube. If you do decide to register on the site, though, you can then choose to associate your accounts with Delver in order to obtain even more accurate results. Delver currently indexes the entire web, and specifically indexes people's social connections on flickr, MySpace, LinkedIn, YouTube, hi5, facebook, Blogger, and, they are adding more all the time. When they go into public beta (circa May, 2008), an optional email import process will be provided as well.
Maximizing Your "Whole" Social Network
Many of us have friends, family members, or colleagues on sites like MySpace and facebook who aren't into using all the latest and greatest web apps and technologies. These friends may have a MySpace profile or a blog, but without visiting these sites directly, there was no way to gather information from these people before. Now with Delver, their profiles and contributions to your social graph are indexed.
No one has to sign up for Delver for you to have them included in your search results.
This is a real breakthrough since prior to Delver, the maximum value you would get out of social networks was directly related to how many of your friends would join. I don't know about you, but I still have plenty of friends who are on MySpace and nothing else, and are quite content with that. With each new social network I joined, the number of my non-tech friends that would follow me dwindled down to nearly nothing. Now it doesn't matter. They can stay on MySpace forever and yet the content they create there will be valuable to me.
It's important to understand that Delver doesn't display anything that isn't already publicly available. "If Google can get to it, so can Delver," says Agmon. But Delver just makes it so much easier to do so. You can access people's social information with such ease that anyone who hasn't been good about setting their profiles to "private" (or who doesn't know to do so), may be surprised to find themselves searchable on Delver.
After claiming your identity in Delver, your social graph is mapped and displayed for you beneath the Delver search box. Dotted lines connect you to your friends and your "friends of friends."
When you perform a query, results from all over your social web display.
You can narrow down your search to just display the people related to your search term or just media results by clicking the links at the top.
Each search result displays, via a breadcrumb trail, your relationship to the person associated with that result. You can hover your mouse over their name to see their photo and their relationship to you. Even if you and them are not directly related as "friends" on a social network, you can still click the plus sign beneath their picture to add them as a connection. This will then add them into the mix of your search results in the future. This way, you can view the relevant bookmarks, links, blog posts, photos, and videos of people like you even if you don't know them personally...and they don't have to confirm the connection on their end.
Alternately, you can choose to exclude certain connections from your search results as well, which is perfect for eliminating those "who-is-that-guy?" friendships left over from your days of MySpace friend accumulation contests.