Yesterday, Google announced one of the biggest changes to their search results, maybe ever.
The results, when logged in, will be extremely personalized with a high level of integration with Google+. Google described it as being "able to find your own stuff on the web, the people you know and things they've shared with you, as well as the people you don’t know but might want to... all from one search box."
The three core and new features include:
- Personal Results, which enable you to find information just for you, such as Google+ photos and posts - both your own and those shared specifically with you, that only you will be able to see on your results page;
- Profiles in Search, both in autocomplete and results, which enable you to immediately find people you’re close to or might be interested in following; and,
- People and Pages, which help you find people profiles and Google+ pages related to a specific topic or area of interest, and enable you to follow them with just a few clicks. Because behind most every query is a community.
This sparked a bit of a debate around various communities on the internet. Obviously the privacy community, the social community and of course, the webmaster/SEO community. I wanted to share some of the feedback from SEOs and webmasters in the forums.
Overall, they are worried, like they have been with Google's previous personalization attempts. The one good thing, as Danny Sullivan explained in his detailed write up on this release was that searchers now have a clear toggle on and off switch for personalized results - will they use it and will Google keep that toggle, remains to be seen.
Here are some of the Webmaster comments:
It is, on first appearance, a bit unsettling. I reserve judgment for now, because a lot of times my first reaction to any change is resistance and suspicion - and then over time I can appreciate it.
keep screwing with the sauce........
Yet another way of squeezing out the small publisher. Google now has an excuse to manipulate search results however they want for each individual user. If I've said it once I've said it a thousand times...Don't count on Google to continue to bring you new users forever.
Since the "your world" results can be toggled on and off, I'd think it won't make too big of an impact. But then again, I just finished typing "ostrich - meet sand" so maybe my mindset is affecting everything at the moment.
Then you have Twitter calling this a bad thing and Google defending themselves by saying "We are a bit surprised by Twitter's comments about Search plus Your World, because they chose not to renew their agreement with us last summer, and since then we have observed their rel=nofollow instructions"
Matt Cutts touches on how it is not just Google+ content shaping the results, but also Flickr and they want to add more, if the social networks allow.
Here is a video on it from Google:
In any event, there is a tremendous amount of discussion and coverage on this at Techmeme.