We have been waiting for a while to find out how Google+ intends to compete with the mighty Facebook for business traffic and customers. Well with Google “Search plus Your World” we may have more of an answer.
A while back I said that at least Google+ had a more a business like look and feel compared to the over busy Facebook. And it has useful business features like Google Hangouts. But the real bonus for business customers is that we expected those users of Google+ to be somehow favoured in Google Search results. It would be too obvious if Google simply gave unmerited ranking in search results to those users whose businesses were signed up to Google+, but assuming that your business does have relevance to an individual’s search, it is legitimate for Google to feature that business in search results. The question has been, but with what prominence, in its own search results.
So now if you search on Google while logged into Google or signed up as a Google+ user, you will see not only results from the public web as usual, but also see results from your own Google “Social Graph”. In other words, your accumulated history on Google+. This I suppose, is “Search plus Your World” as Google call it. So this would include your own posts, photos and videos, but also any that have been shared privately with you by other Google+ users. Interestingly, Google will also pick up stuff on its other integrated services, like the photo storage and sharing tool called Picasa Web.
Google+ results will appear with other public web results, but be clearly marked. And also, relevant results from Google+ Profiles will be returned. So if you searched for a particular item or asked a question, for example, then results from content within Google+ Profiles will appear. In this way, you get to know or be introduced by Google to people (Profiles) that might well be relevant to Your World. And if you are smart, you will add them to your list of Google Circles. Google makes this particularly easy by including a button on the search return page.
Google is likely to give search prominence to profiles that are most active and rated by other users. So this is a good way for Google to return relevant search results that are rated by humans (curated by humans) as a way of avoiding returning SPAM or results manipulated by those trying to artificially raise their search ranking by dubious methods.
Overall, it means that Google has added value to the social media business environment by making it easy for you to expand your network of relevant business friends. It is like a business to business matchmaking service courtesy of our friends at Google. If you put your x-ray specs on, it is not hard to see other “personal recommendation services” developing around “Google plus Your World” that will challenge traditional business networking forums. So if you needed another excuse to update your Google+ profile. Let’s rock!