Google Unveils “Search, plus Your World”

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Yesterday, Google released a new feature called “Search, plus Your World,” which integrates personalized features into Google’s standard search engine results pages (SERPs). These bespoke changes to the SERPs are ported from your Google+ page and the information that your Google+ connections have shared with you.

These changes will make it easier for users to find and access private data their friends have shared with them, which normally only appears in the chronological sequence of social layouts, and as a result, dated entries become buried and are often undiscoverable.

For the privacy-conscious, fear not: the new format’s SERPs are only visible to individual users, and you have to be signed in and using the English version of Google in order to see the personalized results. No one else will be able to see your personal results, and you can toggle the personal results off if you find the experience invasive.

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As you can see, the new layout shows the traditional count of Web results, but adds “x personal results,” a clickable link that you can follow to isolate your personalized search results from the rest of the pack.Results that have been shared by people in your Circles will have that little blue stamp next to them that looks like a head and shoulders. Those that are standard Web results will show nothing new.

Google has been at the forefront of social search for the past few years, and Google Fellow Amit Singhal introduced the newest iteration of the enterprise.

The Search, plus Your World features highlighted by Singhal include:

  • Personal Results – will enable users to find information that is just for them, like Google+ photos and posts, including those that have only been shared specifically with you;
  • Profiles in Search – will allow users to have straightaway access to profiles you’re interested in or people you might be interested in, based on your activity; and
  • People and Page will help users discover Google+ profiles and pages most closely related to the topic in which you’re searching, because, as Google puts it, “behind most every query is a community.”

Google has tirelessly reinforced the idea that “Google+ is Google” and the social service is a thread that has been woven into the fabric of virtually all of Google’s most popular and widespread services.

Granted, “Your World” is limited to the extent that only Google+ social data is integrated into your search engine results. Some early critics have responded that the integration is shallow because of that limitation, but Google told Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan that it would be willing to work with other networks that would provide it with “deep access to their data.”

Considering the relationship that already exists between Bing and Facebook – Bing SERPs show information on what your Facebook friends “like” when you search based on the data provided via this relationship – a collaborative effort between the two giants is a possibility, but we’re not betting the farm on it.

The change is being rolled out slowly over the next few days, so don’t panic if you haven’t spotted it yet. If you just can’t wait to get a glimpse of the new features, Google released this charming promotional video that sums them up nicely.

We’re ecstatic over this new feature for a few reasons: first, Search, plus Your World makes it easier for users to find information that has received votes of confidence from others who we already trust; second, it typifies the constant, rapid evolution of search that characterizes the industry; third, it proves our prediction from late October – that “the Internet is evolving towards a people-centric climate” – was right on the money.

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