A Look into Your World
As most of the digital world had their eyes pointed at Las Vegas and CES to discover the big story of the week, Google managed to steal many of the headlines with the surprise rollout of the next big change to their search results pages.
Search Plus Your World is the next iteration of Google’s plans to bring even more personalisation to your search results. We’ve all already had plenty of experience of using elements of the universal search, whether that be the Google Places integration into hotel or restaurant searches, the inclusion of Google Shopping results in product-related searches or the selection of top images when searching for your favourite celebrity, but this feature however is something that little bit different. Where these previous examples were largely only altered by location, Search Plus Your World has the potential to bring you something truly personal.
This new feature is set to add a mix to search results, firstly by integrating activity from your social network into the main list of results but then also by giving suggestions of people or pages to follow on the social network (based on your search term), placed on the right of the page, just above adwords. This is separate from the “personalised” results that have been around for over two years in that these results are spliced into the usual list of ten links, rather than a re-ordering of those links. Other features include G+ user icons in the auto-complete box and the direct link to all related personal results at the very top of the results page.
The key thing to point out however is that these changes are only in effect to users logged into their Google Plus account and searching on Google.com (no UK implementation yet, but surely on its way). Adoption of Google+ has been impressive since its launch back in June, the number of users is already pushing the 100 million mark. Whilst that’s some way to go to reach the levels of Facebook and Twitter, there is certainly a feeling around the tech community that G+ is a good product and could continue to build a strong user-base, particularly given the appeal of easy integration into gmail, youtube, maps and all other products.
Looking from a digital marketing perspective, my instant thought was the impact that this development could have on the success of Adwords campaigns. Being placed in positions on the right-hand-side (usually positions 4-10) now may see your ad dropped down the screen. Whether that is negative (fewer eyeballs see your ad) or positive (more users now looking towards the right pane) only time will tell but it’s certainly another element for the webmaster to consider.
Irrespective of the fact that this has only very limited scope at present, the integration of Google+ content into search results could start to be a big thing for Google search in their attempts to avoid the foreseen power shift towards Twitter and Facebook as a place to find information.
Whether Google continue to use their power to boost the profile of Google+ or better still, they decide to integrate social activity from Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn the fact that Google search could be a one-stop-shop for regular and social search is something is exciting for any user.