• Road to riches

    Taxpayers keep funding structures with big plans but who knows what efficacy, says Mandi Smallhorne.

  • Don't fall for Ponzi scams

    An expert unpacks the tell-tale signs to watch out for.

  • Inside Labour

    A smokescreen of misleading rhetoric won't make SA's problems go away, says Terry Bell.

See More

Google makes search personal

Jan 11 2012 08:06 AFP

Related Articles

5 tech earthquakes in 2011

Samsung in closing talks over Google TV

Google opens online music store

Google eyes pay television - report

Report: Google mulling role in Yahoo! bid

Google mulling online retail move


San Francisco - Google on Tuesday wove content from its social network and Picasa photo-sharing service into its search formula to serve up personalized results to online queries.

"Search plus your world" was billed as a major change to the leading Internet search engine.

"There is a huge amount of content on the Web today but, at a certain point this content is nameless and faceless," Google's Ben Gomes said.

"The most relevant content is from people you know so we are introducing your personal world to search."

People signed into Google accounts will be able to have the search engine include in results content approved for sharing by them or friends at Google+ or Picasa.

"I've been trying it out and it really changes the nature of search for me," Gomes said. "Now when I search for Bangalore I not only see information about the city but I see pictures of the house where I grew up."

A cursor hovering over an image will reveal where the picture was shared online and by whom, according to Gomes.

"We want to show you your personal data and data from friends," Gomes said. "We want to use Google+ and circles as the underlying infrastructure."

Google's social network lets users share comments, pictures, videos or other online content based on which "circles" friends, family, co-workers or acquaintances fall into.

Google is also enhancing searches for information about people by factoring in Google+ posts.

"It is a whole new kind of search you can do that is focused on content respective to a particular person," Gomes said.

Google will also show which celebrities or other prominent people are commenting at the social network about topics of searches.

Personal data woven into results is protected with encryption and other security on par with that used to safeguard Google's email service, according to Gomes.

"We've gone above and beyond on control because we know people are sensitive with personal data," he said.

Google plans to weave its social network into an array of its properties and services as it builds an online community in a market dominated by Facebook.

Globally popular microblogging service Twitter was quick to blast the changes to Google's search engine, arguing that real-time "tweets" with dramatic ramifications will sink deeper on results pages.

"As we've seen time and again, news breaks first on Twitter; as a result Twitter accounts and Tweets are often the most relevant results," the San Francisco-based startup said.

"We're concerned that as a result of Google's changes, finding this information will be much harder for everyone," Twitter continued in a statement emailed to AFP.

"We think that's bad for people, publishers, news organizations and Twitter users."

Twitter messages are public and are blended into online search results. Posting Google+ pictures and posts high on results pages could relegate tweets to lower positions that are less likely to be noticed.

google  |  twitter  |  facebook


Read Fin24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Company Snapshot

We're talking about:


Johannesburg has been selected to host the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in 2017. "[The congress] will ensure that small business development remains firmly on the national agenda and the radar screen of all stakeholders, the Small Business Development minister said.

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...

Voting Booth

People who fall victim to Ponzi scams are:

Previous results · Suggest a vote