Software

Google adds your personal world to search results

The Google Search, Plus Your World feature is here and if you don't have it now, you will have it soon. Is that good or bad?

The concept of social services cannot be ignored nor avoided it seems. The latest Internet feature to get the "social" treatment is Google search. The Google Search, Plus Your World feature is here and if you don't have it now, you will have it soon - assuming you have a Google+ profile.

But as Stephen Shankland at CNET explains, Google really had no choice but to add a social aspect to its search results. Social interaction and the social information that activity generates can be a powerful tool for creating targeted and more relevant search results. The key word for me is "can," because it can also create crazy search results.

For people who use social networks to their maximum effect, posting photos, updating statuses, logging in to locations via Foursqare, raising cabbages in Farmville, etc., search results may indeed benefit from social network input. However, for people like me, I think my limited social interactions in these services may actually distort search results instead of enhance them.

The social aspect of Google search (Google Search, Plus Your World) has not been rolled out to my account yet, so only time will tell. But if you want to see what Google envisions as the benefits to this new feature, check out the YouTube video.

Are you ready for personalized social features to show up in your next Google search? Do you think it will make for better searches?

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

16 comments
rosborneutah
rosborneutah

My personal preferences and searches have very little to do with the major use of Google - for business research and searching. If my personal preferences (adventure sports, motorcycling, rock-climbing) are influencing my research in business valuations, ROI models and industry best practices... seems like my searches will be LESS relevant to my true purpose of the search. I think Google should consider an optional "filter" to include/exclude personal preferences on the main search page - problem solved, and I'm back in control.

37toms56
37toms56

I don't participate in any social networks. To Google local for my small town is the largest town east at 120 miles or the largest town west at 170 miles. Very useless results. My wife likes her espresso with a bit of coffee, large amounts of flavorings and the rest milk. I call it foo foo coffee. Google has become foo foo search, so I don't use it much any more.

andrew
andrew

I stopped reading when I read this sentence... "For people who use social networks to there maximum effect," Reason: Illiterate blog quality use of the word "there" C'mon TR. You are a quality organisation; don't let crap like this bring down your standards. There - dentoes place Their - denotes ownership They're - short for "they are" And before you all pillory me for being pedantic, anal, or whatever other insult you choose, please understand that I subscribe to TR because of its high literary standards and this is, in my opinion, a clanger!

rastr
rastr

Sometimes I want to search my social world. Sometimes I want to search my person world. Often I don't. So having these as options would be much better. Most often I want to search my job-world- Google could go far in making this easier. Often I search for hints about Visual Basic (sigh, I have to program in Excel at times) or Visual Studio glitches or investigate a new technology. Filtering out the crap and spam and false positives and sites that have tech words in them just to fool search engines would be extremely helpful. Sometimes I'm searching for an article, sometimes a tutorial, sometimes an overview, sometimes how to work around a bug, sometimes documentation- letting me specify the TYPE of result would be wonderful. There's still room in search for a killer app...

Plexis
Plexis

After having Google+ shoved down my throat every time I opened my browser for searching, I switched search engine service. If I want do not want to be part of a social network, I should be able to disable the pushy option (and page space hog!). Since this was not possible, Google has lost a long time user.

ablee
ablee

Between Facebook's sidebar ads and Google's fluffy hits all based on my shopping and social surfing, we are being influenced (hopefully) to buy from or investigate other sites. And if you turn on "location" on the iPhone (my connection while in transit), then "mo info" is available for marketing. These days when I start entering something into the Google search field, it's auto completing the word, listing frequently associated words and sometimes locations faster than I can think or type. Personally I like it (most of the time) and realize that I'm being led to the party. Scary to think I don't have to think much anymore. That reminds me, I need to setup Facebook's new Timeline theme on my page. "Bona undead" folks!

codepoke
codepoke

I turn to Google to learn things my social network *doesn't* already know. This little trick seems calculated to dumb Google down to what I and my friends already know. Sigh.

john@theFeistFamily.net
john@theFeistFamily.net

Google seems to have learned a lesson from the dark side of Apple. Namely we know what you want and need, we will give it to you whether you want it or not. Thus far with Apple that has been fairly benign as I can choose not to buy Apple products and it stops there. With Google the real motivation is to gather ever more data about everyone and everything and use those data as part of a revenue engine. From broadcast interviews with senior Google executives it is clear that they do not understand that many of us do not want to share everything we do, that some data are private and none of their business. The most public example of this came when it was revealed that when Google was gathering data for Google Earth they intercepted numerous snippets from unprotected wireless networks and other sources. While acknowledging that it happened they made it clear that they intend to keep those data too!

jevans4949
jevans4949

When I do a search, I don't usually want to read about somebody's dog who died in Idaho.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Are you ready for personalized social features to show up in your next Google search? Do you think it will make for better searches?

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Relax - it's a freaking typo - I'll fix it. Life is too short to get so upset about this stuff. I appreciate the fact that you believe we have high literary standards, but you have to understand there is no copy editor, there is just me and sometimes I make a mistake. I will not apologize for that.

andrew
andrew

Touche! And thankyou. However, in my opinion, there is a difference between transposing a couple of letters, yielding a wrong word as I did, and using the wrong "there". I don't know how to fat-finger from their to there or they're.

jevans4949
jevans4949

Dentoes - the sweet that doesn't harm your teeth.

GWCC
GWCC

Sorry Andrew but I wasn't meaning to be too serious in my response to your post but rather to point out that we all make mistakes (in my case daily) and that Mark may have been harshly judged. In any case have an enjoyable weekend and you may like to read over your response to my post. I don't like to pick the low hanging fruit but ...