File Under: search

Google Search Gets a Personalized ‘Plus’ Makeover

Personalized Google Search (image courtesy of Google)

Google has announced a new personalized search the company calls “Search, plus Your World.” The update turns the classic Google search results page from an anonymous collection of webpages into something more personal, mining your Google+ network for results related to you. Rather than just scouring the web for webpages related to your search queries, Google will also now find conversations and images posted by your friends.

Call it the “plusification” of Google Search, but, unlike the way Google has forced Plus into many of its services, on the search page it’s easy to toggle it on and off — now you have Plus results, now you don’t.

To see the new customized search results just log in to your Google account and head over to the secure version of Google’s search page. If you’re not seeing the options shown in the screenshot above be patient. Google says it will be rolling out custom search to users over the next few days.

It’s entirely possible to continue using Google’s search page without ever using any of the personalization features. Indeed there are probably many queries in which results from your social network friends would be irrelevant. Thankfully Google has made it easy to toggle the Plus features on and off, just click the respective icon to show and hide Plus results.

For example, say you want to find information about SOPA, the much-maligned Stop Online Piracy Act. Search Google for SOPA and click the personalize icon. If anyone in any of your Google+ circles has posted something about SOPA, their posts will appear in the search results. If any of your contacts have posted SOPA-related images to Picasa, those will show up as well. If you decide you don’t care what your friends think of SOPA, just click on the globe icon and the Plus results are gone.

In addition to the info drawn from your Google Plus circles, Google now includes profiles in search results, making it easier to find people. It also helps narrow the results to the particular person you’re looking for — search for John Smith and Google will return your friend John Smith, skipping the millions of other John Smiths in the world.

If you’re not seeing the new Google Search personalization features just yet, check out the video below from Google which shows the new features in action.