Google has kicked off a new initiative dubbed "Search, Plus Your World" that aims to bring you more personalized search results. In the next few days, you should see two small icons on the top right of your search page that lets you toggle the type of results you see. Folks logged into Google will see a globe that offers the standard results you're familiar with, while a human icon will drastically alter your listings by including related data from your Google+ profile as well as those privately shared with you.
For instance, if you search for "baseball" and a friend of yours recently returned from a game, you might see some of their relevant pictures and posts. Additionally, you'll see Google+ activity by "prominent people" (celebrities and such). The change will also provide autocomplete results for your contacts, so if you begin typing their name into the search field, Google will automatically recommend their Google+ profile. One Google employee offered described how the personalized service affects his results:
"As a child, my favorite fruit was Chikoo, which is exceptionally sweet and tasty. A few years back when getting a family dog, we decided to name our sweet little puppy after my favorite fruit. Over the years we have privately shared many pictures of Chikoo (our dog) with our family. To me, the query [chikoo] means two very sweet and different things, and today's improvements give me the magical experience of finding both the Chikoos I love, right in the results page," writes Amit Singhal.
Although it's displaying private data from Google+, the company assures you that search via SSL is enabled by default for signed-in users. It's worth noting that toggling personalized/non-personalized results only works for an individual search session. However, if you're adamantly opposed to change, you can change the default mode in your Search Settings. Your preference will largely depend on whether you use Google's social networking platform, but Twitter hopes you disable the feature.
The microblogging giant swiftly criticized the marrying of Google+ results with Google's standard service. "As we've seen time and time again, news breaks first on Twitter; as a result, Twitter accounts and Tweets are often the most relevant (search) results," the company said. "We're concerned that as a result of Google's changes, finding this information will be much harder for everyone. We think that's bad for people, publishers, news organizations and Twitter users," the complaint continued.
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