Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Now more personal search results on Google

San Francisco: Google is now more closer to you than ever before. The world’s most popular search engine has now started including more personal information in its results, like photos and commentary on its social networking site Google Plus.

It has always been Google’s endeavour to add personal touches to its search results. And the search engine giant aims to, one day, have enough information about each of its users so that it can produce results that meet the requirements of each person looking for something.

With the ‘personalisation’ of search results set in motion on Tuesday, it is expected that different people would now receive different search results every time the Google. Google's main search results page also will start highlighting more content from an older online photo service called Picasa.

Facebook and Twitter pose a threat to Google because they don't allow Google's search engine to log the avalanche of photos, links and observations tumbling through those services. That's troublesome to Google because its search engine could become less useful if its system can't analyze what people are signaling is important to them so those preferences can be factoring into the results.

Google is tackling that challenge with an addition to its results called "Search, plus your world".

The feature was automatically turned on beginning Tuesday for all English-language searches made by users logged into Google. Turning off the personal results permanently will require changing a setting in Google's personal preferences. The personal results can also be excluded on a search-by-search basis by clicking on an icon of the globe on the results page (the personal results will be denoted by a button featuring a human's silhouette).

If the new formula works as Google expects, the search results will include pertinent information culled from the requestor's Plus account. For instance, a query about the San Francisco 49ers might include links and comments made about the football team by other people in one of the social circles on the user's Plus account. A search request that includes the name of a dog owned by the user or a friend might turn up photos of the pet that have been posted on Plus and Picasa.

"This is going to open up a whole new avenue in search," said Ben Gomes, a Google fellow.

Google isn't the first to do this. Microsoft Corp'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 US while Bing processes less than one-third, including the activity that it comes through a partnership with Yahoo Inc.

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