IanKelley - 4:07 am on Jan 12, 2012 (gmt 0)
an algorithmic authority that cannot adapt anywhere nearly as organically as people themselves
By incorporating social signals into search Google is attempting to add more of the human factor. They're doing the same thing they've been doing since the beginning with link popularity, augmenting the algos with metrics that represent what people think about websites.
It's not looking backward, in search when you look back what you see are search engines that died because they lacked the capability to take the searcher and the web as a whole into consideration.