Just as you get a handle on personalised search results and privacy issues, Google moves the goal posts. The recent launch of Search plus Your World has transformed the way in which search results are listed. In addition to presenting results that best match your keywords, including content that Google believes to be of interest to you, you will now also find results that have been shared privately with you through sources such as Google+.
As the private data – for instance, an image that may have been shared with you by a friend – appears in amongst the search results, it looks as though it is public data. It throws up a host of new privacy issues about data being made more visible, especially data that was posted a long time ago and has since been forgotten. It also runs the risk of people sharing this data without realising that it was private in the first place.
Google’s view is that a personalised search experience is now the norm. Search results are tailored anyway based on your language, geographical location and search history. This is just taking it to the next step. But is this change really going to improve your search experience, or is it just going to help Google gain a larger share in the social media market?
Search Plus Your World and Social Media
As Twitter and Facebook data isn’t currently included in the ‘World’, how useful is this development actually going to be? To be balanced and fair the system should integrate all social media networks, but at the moment this isn’t possible.
Research shows that when a user carries out a search, they focus on the immediate results. People rarely scroll through numerous pages to find what they’re looking for. By integrating private data into these results it may become harder to find the original content you were searching for.
Opt Out of Search Plus Your World
Google has set this up as an opt out system; you can click a button to see only regular search results. It may have been fairer to users to have an opt in policy but then, perhaps, Google wouldn’t have seen their Google+ usage rocket?
It will be interesting to see how Search plus Your World develops, but whether it has a positive impact on your search experience remains to be seen. What do you think? Will Search plus Your World help or hinder your searching experience?
Other Views from the World of Search: