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Google search engine change: dude, like “most radical!”

Today, Google (Mountain View, CA) announced a change to its search engine that has been called the “most radical transformation ever” in an update called “Search, plus Your World.” In the update, Google’s robots incorporate data from its social network as well as the public Internet in the search results delivered to searchers.

Google said, in a blog post this morning:

“Search is simply better with your world in it.”

The Google blog post continues:

We’re transforming Google into a search engine that understands not only content, but also people and relationships. We began this transformation with Social Search, and today we’re taking another big step in this direction by introducing three new features:

  1. Personal Results, which enable you to find information just for you, such as Google+ photos and posts—both your own and those shared specifically with you, that only you will be able to see on your results page;
  2. Profiles in Search, both in autocomplete and results, which enable you to immediately find people you’re close to or might be interested in following; and,
  3. People and Pages, which help you find people profiles and Google+ pages related to a specific topic or area of interest, and enable you to follow them with just a few clicks. Because behind most every query is a community.

Together, these features combine to create Search plus Your World. Search is simply better with your world in it, and we’re just getting started.

Wow! Like, “deep breath!” :-)

One thing that I REALLY ENJOYED about working in tech was that, even though a lot of environments do not VALUE the education of their employees (they really DON’T), :-) almost ALL tech company environments promote continuous LEARNING! Whenever I need to “drink in” (at Netscape, we called this “drinking from the fire hose”) new information about the “totally radical,” I usually start with the new capabilities (nicely presented by the two Google blog entries linked above) and then let my mind wander, over a cup of coffee, a glass of red wine, or in conversations with technical friends. The “totally radical” often has ramifications (or “unintended consequences” [Note added 01/11/2012: …or “collateral damage!” :-) ]) far beyond those those envisioned by its inventors!

I think that this search engine change by Google falls into the “totally radical” category. :-) (As did, for example, the inventions of the iPhone and iPad….)

Miguel Helft, a senior writer at Fortune, writes that social search has long been a “holy grail” in tech:

“The change will expose Google+ profiles, as well as posts and photographs uploaded to the network, to hundreds of millions of search users whether or not they have Google+ accounts. In many cases, the changes will push content from other sites, including Facebook, further down on the search results pages.”

In the Tech Crunch blog, Jason Kincaid gave an example of searching on “Harry Potter” when he wrote:

“For most people, this would probably pull up links to the books, the films, and a variety of fan sites. For this intrepid reporter, though, the results would also include my Picasa album shot at a Harry Potter premiere a few years back (and labeled as such). These images would pop up both in the main search results page, and in Google Images results. Likewise, any blog posts my friends had shared on Google+ about the boy wizard would show up in my results, too.”

NOW – what about the “change averse,” the folks who, as Garth Algar in “Wayne’s World” said, “… fear change” (…and may include some executives who are “too busy” :-) to learn anything new)? What will they do?

Google has been kind enough to let THESE folks TURN OFF these personal results! This search update, which means that MY searches will retrieve different results from YOUR searches (if, for the time being, you are SIGNED INTO Google.com and are searching in English) should show a “toggle switch” controlling the display of personal results in the upper right corner of a search results page. Just click the “no personal results” to avoid seeing the social content.

Of course, Google’s move is another escalation of the “arms race” in search vs. the Facebook collaboration with Microsoft and Bing. Of course, this means duplicate work for business people who want their businesses and products to “feature prominently” in ALL search results.

But as for me, I will take competition over monopoly ANYTIME, especially monopoly by a convicted monopolist. It’s a Brave New World out there!

-Bill at

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