In case you missed the news earlier this month, Google has taken the next major step toward increasingly personalized search results — and away from any concept of universal results.
“Search Plus Your World” merges the usual public web offerings that we’ve all come to expect from Google with private results shared with you by those in your various social networks. You must be signed into Google, though features such as Gmail or Google Docs, in order to see these private results.
The results are highlighted:
You can turn off these results by clicking the right.
While some pundits have latched on the privacy concerns (it is all too easy to confuse privately shared results with public results and then pass them on to others), another debate has raged about the issue of universal versus personalized search. If you’re searching for facts or news, you want to know that you are seeing the best sites and blogs and expect that others will see the same. You don’t just want to see the articles that your friends have rated high, especially if your friends have different political or philosophical views than you do.
The reality is that all search is personalized. Since 2005, Google has been adding more and more signals to its algorithm in order to figure out where you are searching for and what personal results best suit you. Even if you are not logged into Google, there are several dozen different indicators that Google can use to make sure that someone searching for real estate in Canada doesn’t see listings from Miami or Denver.
To learn more about the new Google search, check out “Google Results Get More Personal with ‘Search Plus Your World’ .”