A lot has been going down at Google lately. New collapsed privacy policies, which I am covering in my next class at Solo Practice University, and the roll out of the new Google Search, which adds a + Your World layer to the search giant’s core application – search. What does it all mean? What do I do with this? Big questions, but there are answers to be found and it isn’t as overwhelming and life-changing as one may think when one reads the hue and cries over privacy and search integrity overflowing the tech blogs in the wake of the roll out.
You can read more about the details of Google Search + Your World here. Or check out the video below for an overview.
The essential change is that Search +, as it is being called, will include content added by your friends to your search results when you type in a query. You will also see relevant profiles (Google + profiles, that is) in your results view, and you can expand your social connections with profiles related to your search queries. The assumption, or really the sell, is that content on point generated by your contacts will be of greater relevance, value and presumably veracity than results from the larger, impersonal web. Social results will be marked in your results list with a little blue person, so you can distinguish social or Search + results from general results.
What kinds of content will you see from your friends? Photos, Google + content from your Circles, Google profiles and people and pages related to your topic. So not all of the content being served is directly connected – popular Google social content will also show, which presumably is what traditional SEO companies and advocates are squawking about – it will turn Google relevance on its head. The new mantra is fostering a presence on Google+ in order to improve social search results. Facebook and Twitter won’t help you here – Google is clearly favoring its own content, in part because it can and in part because of impediments to mutually beneficial relationships with Facebook and Twitter. Big business at its best here folks.
Google has been moving in this direction for some time, with its introduction of +1’s across the web improving page ranking and integrating social search back many months ago. It is now giving its own social network, Google +, a leg up in the social search results. And why shouldn’t it? Social search is the next big evolution of search on the web and if Google has readily available relevant social content, they would be “mad” not to include it in their results. And, for all of those users afraid of social polluting their search, you can always toggle off the social search function using the buttons at the upper right corner of the search results screen – or not log into your Google account at all when you search.
So, as a content creator, get yourself on Google + and make the best effort of it. You probably already have a Twitter stream and a Facebook page – get that content moving on Google + too. If that sounds daunting, add some tech wizardry with a cross-posting extension like this one here. If you are a content searcher, then you can toggle social on or off, but consider that you are getting more potentially relevant leads and links with social turned on. Search both to compare results – that one extra step might will put you in a better position than searching one or the other alone.
Google + and social are definitely here to stay. Might as well make the best of it.