Google recently announced on its blog that it will change its search algorithm. Calling the change, “Search, plus your world”, search results will incorporate results from its social network (presumably Google Plus) along with results from the rest of the web. The example given in CNN’s “Google search undergoes ‘most radical transformation ever‘ is the search for Harry Potter. Among the results would be photos the user himself uploaded to Google’s Picasa web album, in addition to further information about the book and movie.
Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land writes that the change allows users to avoid multiple searches- searching once in Google and again in Google Plus, for example. The downside of this change is that private content will be made more visible to friends and family. Another writer describes Google’s main motivation for this new change (and I agree): increased visibility of its social network Google Plus, which has yet to reach the popularity of Facebook.
The new setting can be turned off, fortunately. People search for a variety of things for a variety of reasons- will social results always be relevant to what a user is looking for? Using the previously mentioned Harry Potter example, what if a student is researching the Harry Potter books, or a journalist is investigating the success of the movies, or a young author is looking to replicate the success of the series? I cannot think of a case in which personalized results would help these people in their search for hard data. Nevertheless, I am curious to see how this new search model will be received.
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