Google’s New Social Results – Just a Google+ Booster, or the Future of Search?

January 12, 2012

10:00 am

Google began rolling out its social search on Tuesday, called “Search, plus Your World.” Now, Google results will pull in content and profiles from Google+.

“We’re transforming Google into a search engine that understands not only content, but also people and relationships,” wrote Google fellow Amit Singhal.

For example, a search for “vacation” will display posts from you and your friends about your recent trips, including photos. On the right hand side, you’ll also see high-profile Google+ users who post often about that topic. Or, you can search specific names to find the profiles of your friends and other famous people on Google+, whom you can add to your circles directly from the results page.

These features extend Google’s experiment with social search, but make results more prominent and highlight Google+ pages.

I’m not too happy with this, but I won’t complain until I’ve tried it. When I’m doing research for an essay or looking up a medical condition, I don’t really care what my layman friends think about the topic. Luckily, you can change your search settings to make “unpersonalized” search the default, although a little icon in the top right corner lets you turn it on when appropriate. You can also sign out of your Google account.

Despite these reservations, the ability to effectively search social content – definitely lacking on Facebook – is a plus (pun intended). In fact, it adds to the value and allure of Google+.

Personal search isn’t enabled for me yet; does it work for you? What do you think?

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact

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