During a pre-briefing with eWEEK, Jack Menzel, product management director for search at Google, used the example of vacation planning.
Those who want to travel to, say, Rome, can simply search the Web. But Menzel, who recently went to Rome, wanted to learn about the Italian city through the lens of friends who had been there and experience the city first hand.
Menzel searched for Rome using the new personal results feature and found Google+ posts written about Rome, as well as several photos and links to content about the city. A search of Rome in Google Image Search retrieved the same kind of personalized results for him, solely in pictures his friends took of the city.
Whenever a company mixes social with Web search, security and privacy are natural concerns. Recall the privacy concerns Facebook triggered with its new user interface experiences in the past, including with the most recent Timeline change.
Menzel told eWEEK Google has applied the SSL encryption it recently applied to Google Search to its results pages for the new personal results. Google has also made sure to mark personal results with specific designations used on Google+, including brandings for Public, Limited or Only you.
There is also a new toggle switch in the upper right-hand of search results pages where users can see what results look like without personal content. This toggle button works for each individual search session, but users can also make this the default in your Search Settings.
"Search, plus your world" represents a real instantiation of the Social Search service the company has worked at for the last few years. That approach never really took off because Google didn't have a network to leverage. With more than 60 million users on Google+, users should experience more value in the new social search approach.
This could also have the effect of luring new users to Google+, which would be a huge win for the company at a time when Facebook has more than 800 million users and counting.