We know that Google is pushing Google+ as much as they can, trying to make Google+ the center of everything they do. And they would love it to be the center of everything they do. And as I highlighted right after the launch of Google+: we will be seeing integration with search results sooner or later.
Today Google has taken a next, very important and very big step towards just that: “Search Plus Your World”. From now on you will not just find content from the web, your search results will be mixed with personal results which have been shared with you personally.
The change is live now, but chances are you will not be able to see it right away. The biggest chance you have is being signed in to Google.com and searching in English. It will be rolled out World Wide in the next few days. You will be alerted to the fact it is happening to you if you see this alert above your results:
This is how Google explains the new functionality:
I literally said this a few weeks back at a talk in Amsterdam: things are personal now. And this is yet another example of that. You results will be mixed in with Google+ posts and images shared on Google+ or Picasa.
Google has also been focussing on people search in the past year. First the Google Profiles were made more important, then Google+ came and next were the author highlights. That now comes together with profile autocomplete predictions. Start typing for a persons name and it will show up as a suggestion in the search results. Once selected it will give you an oversight of that user in Google+, something which we spotted a few weeks back.
On the right hand side you will also be seeing suggestions for people to put in your circles. Don’t get too excited about this, this will be mostly celebrities benefiting from that.
Another thing which Google has been focussing on is privacy. That is why in this case they are extremely careful. The search results are protected by the same high standards of encryption as your messages in Gmail. Which explains the move with the search queries which are not shown in Google Analytics.
They also offer the feature to easily toggle between “Search plus Your World” and “No personal results”.
So is this good or bad? Well it is something we have foreseen for a while now, even before Google launched Google+. But is it that big a deal? Yes and no.
The fact that we now also get to see content from Google+ is not that big of a deal. That makes sense. What is a big deal (maybe) is that it is getting pushed in our face. Google+ is pushing down ‘regular’ results even more now.
And another thing which might get to peoples nerves is that Google is delivering them personal results they haven’t asked for. Is Google+ really that important to have it that prominent in the results? For many people it won’t be, but for Google it is. And it seems as if we just have to live with that. They are pushing it in our face even more.
Personally I think the fact that person search is getting so much attention is really interesting. Who you are and how well you have implemented that into all the different elements is going to be hugely important. As for “Death of SEO” posts: they don’t have to be written just yet. So far it is still not actual integration though, it doesn’t set the rankings, it ‘just’ pushes search results down. Which is enough for a big discussion right there.
Let me know, how do you feel about this change from Google?