So who is right? Well, let's look at some recent developments and see. The biggest, most obvious elephant in the room is Google's deal with Twitter to index their content. It was been in place from October of 2009 until the first week in July when the contract expired. Not coincidentally, Google Realtime Search shut down at the same time. It would seem that the two were somehow linked since there is no real reason to shut down Realtime Search otherwise. I try not to be a conspiracy theorist, but it is also curious that this all comes right when Google+ goes in to public beta.
Speaking of Google+, Laura Greeno of Web Scout made an interesting observation on Google+ a couple of weeks ago. She noted that since joining Google+ her vanity search results had changed. Not only had they changed, but in a major way - her Google+ profile was the number one result within days of her joining the new network. Granted, the result only appeared as such when she was logged in, but I saw the same behavior. When I was logged in to my Google account, her Google+ account came up first, when I wasn't, it didn't. It would be worth mentioning that not only do I also have a Google+ account, but we are in each other's circles and we share several connections.
While none of this information is earth shattering news, it does seem to be pointing to social becoming more intertwined with search. It stands to reason that Google would give you personalized results when you are logged in to your Google account so is it really a stretch to think that SERPs will be influence by social? I would argue that they already are. For those of us who are always logged in, we are definitely seeing a different Google than those that are not.