Is Social taking over the web ?

In a very informative, though short, article, "Social Media Today" writer Daren Bach gives a hint at the exact route that will allow social (read Twitter, Facebook ...) to become the next emperor of the web:

Human link building is now closely tied to indexing social signals for relevant content by Google’s newly polished algorithm. Social trust, authority and engagement have become vitally important boosters for enhanced elevation to a higher Google PageRank.

You might be saying : So ? Google already ranks the sites that get the most clicks on top of its result pages. You're right, approximately right. Because Google's algorithm also takes into account the number of trust-worthy websites displaying links pointing at a given page in order to shoot that page up in the results' ranking.

And here comes the question: What's the ratio ? If Google is now taking into account :

  1. The number of trustworthy sites linking to a given page
  2. And Social trust (the number of "like" and re-tweets ?)
Bing, in its recent cooperation with Facebook, calls "the friend effect" (very enthusiastic Bing director there :) oh and thank you Wordpress for making it so easy to embed msn videos)

But, how big is 2. (social trust) compared to 1. (trustworthy websites + traditional wisdom of (all) the crowd) then ? And you might ask again : Why worry ? The people behind the "like" and the re-tweets are the same people who were sending a page up the Google result ladder with their clicks. The medium's changed but the outcome is still the same.

That's where I beg to differ. Because it's a different audience we're considering here. It's as if we're giving a "premium membership" or an extra importance to the choices of these Facebookers and tweeters, who may be the most connected among us but also the most prone to "the illusion of social networks" as TechCrunch's Semil Shah calls it.
They are the ones most likely (and this is an assumption with a big A) to "buy into" some news or rumor. The power users of the web, the ones most immersed in the web and social experience, doing more "real-time than real life" during their day and are hence prone to riding and sharing hypes and false rumors.
You can see this as a more general version of the Beiber distortion. Reflexions and additional information are welcome. The comments are yours to fill. Even Beiber fans ... you can comment too ..