In their ongoing climb up the proverbial “social ladder” Google has now merged Google + into its search results. What this means, moving forward any Google + member who is signed in will be able to search the entire web as well as their own Google + circles. This includes photos and content posts from the Google + circles of that user.
Google is calling this search update “Search, plus your World”. Their goal here is to try to transform Google into a search engine that not only understands content, but people and relationships as well. This all began with “personalization” back in the Spring of 2007. This encompassed personalizing your Google Homepage as well as Google “learning” about you by your previous searches and adjusting your future searches based on those preferences. At first this was subtle but over time the target was to supply, a user’s logged in to Google, with better, more specific results. Example, a user who was a Baltimore Raven’s fan would get more relevant results regarding the football team and not websites that had to do with birds.
From that came Google’s Social Search in the fall of 2009. Building on their personalization platform they moved to the next level. Based on the assumption that your friends and contacts are a major part of your online life, Google moved further down the path of refining your search and helping you to find more relevant information. This precursor to this latest update utilized connections linked from your Google profile as well as people you were following on Twitter. Or if you used Gmail, it also included chat buddies and your group contacts as long as you were signed into your Google account.
Now, in the beginning of 2012, they have rolled out the latest and greatest in their ongoing drive to give the user the most relevant search results. The three newest features are personal results, profiles in search and people and pages. And although more relevant search results are good for everyone, there is definitely something in it for Google. With this newest incarnation Google will be able to ‘push’ a user to interact more and more through Google + which in turn allows Google to control the information gathered on its users and search queries.
In their effort to “be transparent” about this feature and allow the user control over its use they have provided control settings like you find in Google +. And there is also a toggle on the upper right hand of the page of results where a user can change the view to see the search results without personal content as well as with.
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