Since Google + went public in 2011, it has had a fairly slow start. Early adopters have had mixed reviews, some of them absolutely loving the new social network and others setting up their account and promptly going back to Facebook. The service currently has 62 million users, pocket change when standing next to Facebook. It will likely take Google some time to find that perfect niche to ramp up the popularity of Google +.
It seems that Google's new search update, titled 'Search plus Your World,' is trying to do just that. Jack Menzel, Google's project management director of search, says that with the update, Google+ users can now "search across information that is private and only shared to you, not just the public web." Now you can view posts and photos and links shared by your friends and connections in your search results.
For a long time, Google has been customizing the search experience for users. They do so subtly, but the search engine watches what you search for and slowly tries to hone in what kinds of results you would like to see based on your previous activity on Google. It remembers the results you click on, and with a complex series of algorithms will gradually provide more accurate results custom-tailored to you.
Google's Search plus Your World certainly pulls up some interesting results, and the results can only be as good as the content available, so if you haven't gotten that deep into Google+ you might not be getting the full experience.
Twitter slammed back at Google saying the change was not a good idea. Twitter's real-time results are known for getting high results on Google. Twitter said "We've seen time and time again, news breaks first on Twitter. We're concerned that as a result of Google's changes, finding this information will be much harder for everyone."
Google's new search changes are clearly annotated and can be toggled on and off quickly, but Twitter feels the service isn't for the greater good, but instead it is for Google's good.
What do you think? Do you use Google+? Have you tried out the new search? Is personalized, social search results the way of the future or will it be nothing more than a novelty? Leave a comment!