Google Opens Social Search to the Public

Mashable is reporting that over the next few days, Google plans to bring Social Search into the light, making the once opt-in-only feature a staple for all English speaking searchers.

Google’s Social Search adds a few new elements to both text and image based search results by integrating “socially relevant content” from people in your social circle (that is, those that you’ve connected to via your Google profile). This means that when you search for something, anything that your friends have posted, matching that topic, on blogs or other social networking sites will be highlighted on the search results page.

In terms of image searches, you’ll now be able to see pictures that your contacts have shared online in addition to the standard image results from across the web, so long as they match your current query. For example, a search for a sunset will not only bring up thousands of pictures from around the world, but also a picture from your friend’s cruise last winter, and so on.

If this sounds at all confusing, don’t fret, as Google has released a short demonstration video that should help clear things up:

Publishers Clearing House Holding $1,000 Mahjongg Dimensions Tournament

Are you hooked on Mahjongg Dimensions since we warned you it might hook you? Would you like several hours of your life back? You can’t have them, I’m afraid, but the good news is that if you’re willing to spend several more hours, you have a shot at a $1,000 prize. Publishers Clearing House Games has asked us to  inform you that tomorrow, Wednesday, January 20th, they will be holding a Mahjongg Dimensions tournament on their website, PCHGames.com.

Sign up, and from midnight to 11:59 p.m., you can submit as many scores as your eyeballs can stand. At the end of the day, the top three scores will be worth prizes of $1,000, $500, and $250. Publishers Clearing House Games has plenty of other prizes, as well; merely playing the games can earn you “tokens” which can be exchanged for sweepstakes entries, giving you shots at gift cards from Amazon, iTunes, Best Buy, and others.

Yes, sweepstakes. It is Publishers Clearing House, after all. No, an avatar of the late Ed McMahon will not deliver your prize. For more tournament info and rules, check out the official page.

Hello Kitty Online Holds In-Game Food Collection Event for Haiti Relief

Do you think, just because she is impossibly adorable, that Hello Kitty does not care about disaster victims? She, too, is encouraging gamers to come together and support Haiti relief efforts, via her game, Hello Kitty Online. Starting on Thursday, January 21st, players of HKO will have a chance to participate in the Food for Friends 2 event, earning plenty of Loyalty Points for their guilds, and generating valuable donations to Doctors Without Borders.

Sponsored by game developers Sanrio Digital, and regional publishers Aeria Games, Burda:ic GmbH, and Oriented Games, the Food for Friends 2 event will require in-game guilds to gather and give away virtual food in exchange for real-world relief. According to a press release, players can speak to an in-game character to discover which consumable crafted items are eligible for “donation points.” At the end of the competition, January 30th, all accumulated donation points “will be used to calculate a real-world donation to Doctors Without Borders.” In addition, the top three guilds who have donated the most food will receive copious in-game rewards.

It’s about time the cats of the world became socially conscious, honestly. You can play Hello Kitty Online for free, right here.