Google’s Results Get More Personal With “Search Plus Your World”

Jan 10, 2012 at 9:30am
by Danny Sullivan

Google’s search results are undergoing their most radical transformation ever, as a new “Search Plus Your World” format begins rolling out today. It finds both content that’s been shared with you privately along with matches from the public web, all mixed into a single set of listings.

The change is live now, though not everyone will see it until it fully launches over the next few days. It’s only for those signed-in to Google.com and searching in English. You’ll know when it happens, because Google will alert you with a message like this above your search results:

The new system will perhaps make life much easier for some people, allowing them to find both privately shared content from friends and family plus material from across the web through a single search, rather than having to search twice using two different systems.

However, Search Plus Your World may cause some privacy worries, as private content may appear as if it is exposed publicly (it is not). It might also cause concern by making private content more visible to friends and family than those sharing may have initially intended.

The new format and features will also likely cause Google to come under renewed fire that it is leveraging its search engine to favor its own content and crowd out competitors.

Below, a detailed look at what’s involved with Search Plus Your World, from how it works to some of the issues it raises.

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