On Tuesday, Google Inc. introduced a revamp version of its flagship search engine, dubbed ‘Search, Plus Your World’, which will add a twist to Web searches by enabling users to search private content of them and their friends have posted and made available to each other privately through the Google+ social network and the Picasa Web photo upload and sharing site in addition to the normal search. Users will have the option to toggle between searching their own personal data and searching the Web as a whole.
Over the next few days, users will notice a couple of small icons appear on their search results, if they choose to opt in. On the upper right, Google will show a pair of buttons. Users that toggle the right-hand globe will be able to search as normal, with search results that leverage Google’s normal search algorithm.
Google official said that the new tool redefines search by incorporating users’ personal information into everyday search queries. This is most obvious in the personalized Image Search, which allows users to look through their own pictures that have been shared with them on Google’s other programs, such as social media and sharing sites. An image search for “Hawaii” you are likely to see pictures of your trip to Hawaii from your own albums, or from a friend’s album. You may also see travel tips and recommendations that your friends may have posted on Google+.
Generic searches for broad topics will now also include profiles and pages from Google+ for people who are relevant and important to that topic. A search for “music” may suggest the profiles of Britney Spears or Snoop Dogg to the right of search results.
Google isn’t the first to do this. Microsoft’s Bing search engine has been mining some of the preferences and other information shared on Facebook since May. But Google’s emphasis on more personal results figures to attract more attention because its search engine is so dominant. It handles about two-thirds of the Internet search requests made in the U.S. while Bing processes less than one-third, including the activity that it comes through a partnership with Yahoo Inc.
Users who do not want personalized content will be able to turn it off easily, the Google said.