Google recently announced Search plus Your World, a revolutionary new development in social search that integrates relevant content from your social network into your search results. It makes search personal. Search plus Your World is a natural outcome of the successful launch of Google+. According to industry observer Paul Allen, Google+ has garnered 62 million users and is on track to reach 400 million by the end of 2012. The new search results will display photos and posts—both your own and those shared specifically with you by your social circle, that will appear on your results page and only be visible to you.
The new changes hold the promise of making it easier to retrieve information that is important to you. With autocomplete and a more interconnected web of results, you will find what you are looking for faster.
For example, you will see Google+ posts from friends talking about a great movie they just saw or an amazing concert they just went to, whether they previously shared this information with you privately or publicly. The new search will also highlight links and photos shared by your friends. If you are looking for what company your old college roommate is working for you won’t need to sift through dozens of irrelevant profiles for people who share the same common name.
If things are getting a little too “personal” for you and like the way search worked back in the good old days (2011), Google has placed a toggle on the upper right of the results page where you can view your search results without integration of any personal content or previous web history. If you want to eliminate the social search functionality for all future sessions, you can control this functionality in your Search Settings.
In a future post, I am going to analyze the impact of Search plus Your World on online reputation management. Google’s latest changes will require a new strategy on removing negative content from the first page of search results and promoting positive content online for individuals and businesses.