Today,Google started integrating Google+ into its standard search, with Search, plus Your World, " transforming Google into a search engine that understands not only content, but also people and relationships," writes Google fellow Amit Singhal on The Official Google Blog. That sounds dandy. But, since it only works with a social network that hasn't quite proven itself as useful, this updated search might not prove all that useful.
In addition to regular Google, which surfaces results based on content, the revamped search engine gives searchers the option to turn on the social option. In the upper right-hand corner below the search box, above the results, a human silhouette prompts surfers to turn on Your World, as the graphic to the right shows.
Once on, the search engine scours Google+ for relevant information, in addition to the usual Internet haunts. That would prove useful, Google argues, for searching about vacation destinations or terms that might have personal meaning to a searcher. Like, below, "chikoo" brings up literal results for the fruit, as well as photos of the searcher's puppy with that name -- something old school Google wouldn't catch.
For travel, Google parses Google+ and Picasa albums for captions and comments. Since Google+ sees 5 times more uploads than Facebook, we imagine this would prove useful -- if your friends are indeed on the site. Ours aren't.
Beyond search results, Google also incorporates Google+ profiles in search. Again, assuming anyone cares to peruse someone's Google+ profile. While Google has seen subscriber growth, many still call it a ghost town -- signing up for an account isn't the same as actually using the social network.
But Google's hoping the new search will not only help users discover more personal content, but also get people onto Google+. The new Google not only integrates profiles into search, it surfaces related Google+ "People and Pages" -- Google+ users that often discuss these terms -- giving the users the options add any of these people to their circles.
All these new features will only benefit those with an active social life on Google+. These constant reminders might prompt more to sign up and use the site. At least Google hopes deeper integration into its popular search will convince Googlers the site is worth a try. Google+ enthusiast or not, users will see the new search over the next few days. For those who haven't gotten a prompt for Google to switch over yet, here's a video tour.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.