Does “social search” make any sense?

As several people are reporting this morning, the search engine Hakia has added a new feature called “Meet Others,” in which you can see whether other people using the tool are searching for the same things you are. I confess that, like Richard MacManus at Read/Write Web, I am wondering what the point of this feature is exactly. Do social networking features make any sense as part of a search tool?

I can see that if you were searching for companionship, for example, you might want to know that others were searching terms like “lonely” or “desperate for a relationship” or whatever your search might be. But how many searches would actually benefit from having a social component? Would you want to know that others were looking for the definition of “amanuensis” or the location of a good hardware store? I’m not convinced that really makes any sense.

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