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The Evolution of Search, plus Your World

Last week Google announced on their blog that they would be transforming their search experience into something rich with people and personal content.  Google claims search is limited to public webpages that are created by people you’ve never met.  At the heart of this new ‘search,’ Google is looking to bring your social world closer to you than ever before:

“Search is pretty amazing at finding that one needle in a haystack of billions of webpages, images, videos, news and much more. But clearly, that isn’t enough. You should also be able to find your own stuff on the web, the people you know and things they’ve shared with you, as well as the people you don’t know but might want to… all from one search box.” – Amit Singhal, Google Fellow

Google will be bringing this content directly to your browser by personalizing your search results page in three very specific ways:

  1. Personal Results: Find information meant only for your eyes, such as Google+ photos and posts – both your own and those shared specifically with you – on your results page.  
  2. Profiles in Search: Immediately find people you’re close to or might be interested in following in both autocomplete in the search bar and the results.  
  3. People and Pages: Find peoples’ profiles and Google+ pages related to a specific topic or area of interest and follow them with just a few clicks.  

What is Google telling me?

Google will continue to show all of the natural results and ads you would normally see on a results page, but now you will also see websites that your social circles have shared as well.  Just like Google did when they rolled out Universal Search, they are now pushing content from Google+ into the search results along with Google News, Images, Maps and Video.  You will no longer need to leave Google search to find information your friends or family have shared.

[video:http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Z9TTBxarbs 433x300]

What kind of impact will this have?

It is no secret the tiny component tying this new search experience together is Google+.  If you ever questioned whether a Google+ account was needed, you may find it more vital than ever, especially if you are a search marketer.  Think of this new search environment as search results sprinkled with Google+ suggestions.  This format of search is not new, but rather an update to the current Universal Search in which all Google products are being represented on one page.

As with any Google update to search (remember the Instant Search craze?), this new approach has caused quite a stir in the search marketing community as Google critics and enthusiasts alike are alarmed with the direction Google is taking.  Danny Sullivan, one of the most respected people in SEO, has written several great articles on this subject.  You can read about his concerns with this new search format on his post Search Engines Should Be Like Santa From Miracle On 34th Street.

What Can I do?

For starters, create or update your Google+ profile. You should also spend some time to build a strategy around the messaging you want to deliver via Google+.  The idea is to be engaging, so people can share your content, which gives it the most reach.  In a world where search is now personalized by what friends +1 or re-share to their circles, engagement levels should become a top priority.

I’d love to hear your take on this updated search.  Do you like this new direction Google is taking?  Feel free to leave a comment or take the conversation to Twitter (@AmadoCan).

Happy searching!

Note: This was originally posted on the Apartments.com Blog - http://www.apartments.com/blog/uncategorized/googles-latest-search-plus-your-world/

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