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In 2010, Google built social networking tools into Gmail, Google Talk, Google Reader etc. If you use Google products, the company already knows your contacts, your interests and where you go on the web. Think about it: Applications are better when they know who you are.

Google’s focus on digital social networking should be an indicator to you that social networking needs to be a key part of your job search strategy. Gone are the days when you just send of resumes for jobs listed on job boards and hope to get a reply. The NEW employment marketplace requires you to actively build a social network to establish RELATIONSHIPS that will lead you to your next job.

Google Social Search was launched as a test product last year. When a user opts into the feature, you see on the search results page a list of your “social circle” tied to Google data. It includes people you’re connected to on Twitter, Gmail, Google Talk and Linked-In and other public networks. Google’s strategy to support interoperable, open community-driven standards will change the way you can build digital relationships using a fast evolving socially networked web.

Consider Google’s development of PoCo and WebFinger. Portable Contacts (known as “PoCo”) is an open standard that aims to make it easier to access “who-you-know” information in a secure way. WebFinger lets people attach public metadata to emails. Your Gmail address will soon become your on-line ID. It’s taking something everyone knows on the web (your email address) and making it immensely more valuable as a way to identify yourself and share information about you.

Connecting with people is getting easier. Access to contacts and information about others is just a click away. Take time now to develop your contacts, set-up a system to manage your contacts and build your “personal brand” as a digital identity on the Internet.