Always striving to improve its services to serve you exactly what you are looking for at the click of a button, Google is constantly tweaking and updating its search algorithm to achieve the best and most relevant results for your search.

On January 10th 2012 Google took this one step further by announcing the results you receive will now be personalized to include social results from your friends, family and circles. This is probably one of the most profound changes the search giant has made to date. Anything you, or your circles of friends have “+1’d”, posted about or tagged will now be shown above the usual search results. You need to have a Google+ account for these changes to take effect.

Your personal results are marked with an icon like this http://www.google.com/insidesearch/images/landing/plus/person.pngso you know these are just for you.

There three main changes are:

Personal Results Results directly relevant to you. So if your great aunt Mary shares a picture of her new cat “Ollie Purrs” you can search for Ollie and his photo will show up in your results. Or if your friends have posted about their terrible experience in a place you are considering visiting, when you search for this their post will be returned as a visible personal result.
Profiles in Search This feature means that Google+ profiles linked to your account will be displayed firstly and above natural search. Handy if your best friend is named “John Smith”.
People and Pages Google+ accounts for people and pages that are relevant to your search.

And this is how it works…

1) Type your search query into Google (making sure you are logged in)

2) Receive your non-personalized search results


 

 

3) Click this icon to see your personal results

4) Receive your personalized search results

Back in June 2011 i wrote a short blog post offering my thoughts on Googles move onto the social ladder.
Although my opinion is slightly more optimistic it remains unchanged. The mass of my friends that do not work in the IT industry are still no closer to being tempted to use Google+ as they find Facebook too familiar. If, like myself, you are still not convinced then Google Guy Amit Singhal adds a more human touch with this almost heartwarming conclusion:

“While there may be 7 billion people and 197 million square miles on Earth, a septillion stars and a trillion webpages, we spend our short, precious lives living in a particular town, with particular friends and family, orbiting a single star and relying on a tiny slice of the world’s information. Our dream is to have the technology to enable everyone to experience the richness of all their information and people around them.”

….Just as long as they have a Google+ account.

Resources:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Z9TTBxarbs

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/search-plus-your-world.html

 

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Hayley

Search Analyst at Silkstream
SEO, blogger and Google geek. Committed to helping small business thrive during economic austerity.