The world’s favourite search engine today further highlighted the importance of social media as they began rolling out a substantial upgrade to Google Social Search. Search results will now include information from Twitter, Flickr and new kid on the block Quora.

Google Social Search is nothing new – it’s been integrated since 2009, but where before social results were Tweets and were usually displayed towards the bottom of the page, now results from these platforms will be spread throughout the page and will also include results that your “friends” have shared with an annotation alerting you to this. Any content which has been shared by your connections on the integrated social networks will be incorporated into the search results with the annotation “XYZ shared this”.

Of course, you will only see this if your Google account is connected to any of the platforms – which also includes LinkedIn and Google Buzz – and if you’re logged in, but the increasing focus on providing the user with results that affect their social media usage is certainly an interesting move. I’ll be particularly interested in seeing how this affects organic search results as time passes.

Although it’s not really surprising that no Facebook data is used in Google Social Search considering the sites are constantly at loggerheads, this does seem like a glaring omission and an area that Bing could potentially capitalise on in their next update.

I’m not going to sound the panic button and declare this the death of SEO or anything like that, but it certainly highlights to me the importance of businesses having a strong social media marketing campaign in place if they are serious about dominating page one.

What do you think? Leave me a comment – or even a Tweet – and let me know.