Wajam shows you what your friends think about the stuff you search for

This free browser extension brings social networking to online searching.

There's no opinion shortage online, but who are you going to trust? Your friends, of course -- with help from Wajam for Windows. Wajam extends social searching to the wider Web. It uses data from your Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ accounts to show you what your friends think about the things you want to know about, like restaurants, coffee shops, movies, records, and other stuff they've shared. Say you want to try a new restaurant, but you've heard mixed reviews. If any of your friends have tried it and shared an opinion, Wajam shows you what they think in a panel right next to your search results. Wajam for Windows is free and works with Chrome, Firefox, IE, and Safari.

Wajam installs as easily as any browser extension. How you manage Wajam depends on which browser you're using, of course; in Chrome, we found it under Tools/Extensions. Setting up Wajam involves some choices, such as allowing it to post on your behalf and access your news feeds. A message explains the options. To use Wajam, you must sign in with your Facebook or Twitter account, and then you can add more accounts, including Google+ and LinkedIn, at Wajam's Dashboard page, which also accesses your photos, videos, and other resources. Wajam works with most search engines as well as eBay, Amazon, IMDB, Wikipedia, and lots of other sites. You can sign in and then search or search first and sign in to Wajam only when you want to.

We signed in via Facebook and did a quick Google for a local restaurant. Sure enough, several friends had eaten there and shared their opinions of the food, service, and atmosphere. Wajam's developers were right: Those opinions were of far more use to us than any professional restaurant critic's review. Wajam also displayed a map, address, menu link, and scores based on reviews submitted by other users. Suppose everyone uses Wajam, and the hot dining spot is too crowded? There's an app for that, too: With Wajam on your smartphone, Plan B is a few swipes away. But try Wajam, however you do it.

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