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article imageGoogle's new Search Plus Your World links queries to social media

By JohnThomas Didymus     Jan 10, 2012 in Internet
Google is introducing a new search tool called "Search Plus Your World." The new search tool combines content being shared with the user privately with content from the public web in a single body of results generated by search query.
According to Search Engine Land, the new format will be fully launched in the next few days. At the moment, it is only users signed-in to and searching in English who see it.
Search Engine Land explains that the new search tool is designed to allow users find both privately shared content, that is web content generated by friends and family, and public material across the web in a single search. It also allows users the option to toggle between searching their own personalized data on social networks and searching the public web.
According to The New York Times, with the new personalized search tool, people will be able to see posts, photos from their friends, profiles of their friends and conversations by their friends on Google+ when they search people's names.
According to Amit Singhal, Google fellow and software engineer, “What you search today is largely written by people you don’t know; we call that the faceless Web. Search Plus Your World transforms search and centers it around you.”
Singhal says the new tool effectively incorporates user's personal information into everyday search queries. The new tool allows users look through their own pictures that have been shared on Google+ and other programs. Personalized results means that if you search for "JohnThomas Didymus," for instance, it will boost the ranking for someone you know by that name.
There are, however, already concerns that Search Plus Your World may cause some privacy issues. This is mostly because private content will appear as if it is being shown publicly, although in reality this is not so. There is also concern that it may make private content not intended to be viewed available to friends and family. Google may also come under criticism of favoring its own content to the disadvantage of its competitors.
According to Search Engine Land, Google has had personalized results since June 2005 that allow web content to be given high ranking in search results based on interests, habits or behavior of user online. The feature was expanded in February 2007, and then in December 2009, personalized results were enabled by default for all users, even for users not signed-in to Google.
Google, according to Search Engine Land, has been operating social search results since 2009, social search results being personalized listings based on social network contacts. Search tool that blends social search results into regular results have been in effect since February 2011. But now With Search Plus World by default you have "personal results" that blend both personal listings based on your online habits and interests with "social results," including content being shared by people you know on social networks.
However, Search Plus Your World does not cover content on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and other social networks where content is shared to a limited audience. It covers only Google+ and Picasa.
According to Singhal, results from Facebook, Twitter and Flickr are not covered because "their terms of service don’t allow us to crawl them deeply and store things. Google+ is the only [network] that provides such a persistent service. Of course, going forward, if others were willing to change, we’d look at designing things to see how it would work.”
More about Google, Social media, search queries, search plus your world
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