Google unveiled a major change to the internet giant’s search engine, now weaving in ‘personal results’ from the firm’s own social and photo services in a new service dubbed Search plus Your World.
"We’re transforming Google into a search engine that understands not only content, but also people and relationships," wrote Google fellow Amit Singhal on the Google blog. Singhal provided an example of looking for a ‘vacation destination’ that could focus on the experience friends had on their own holidays.
In a massive boost to Google’s own social efforts, the Google search engine will now auto complete friends names, providing they have a Google profile. When searching for particular topics, Google search will also display "prominent people who frequently discuss this topic on Google+".
Previously Google’s search was fairly disconnected to the firm’s own social services but now Google’s entire consumer offering looks more like one large connected service which is sure to have social networking rivals concerned.
Indeed no sooner had the announcement been made than microblogging service hit out at Google, claiming that the changes would make it harder to find Tweets. Doubtless that’s true to some extent, since Tweets will be relegated to ‘organic’ search results rather than Google’s own services.
"We’re concerned that as a result of Google’s changes, finding this information will be much harder for everyone. We think that’s bad for people, publishers, news organizations and Twitter users," Twitter said in a release.
Google hit back with a brief statement 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."
Google’s real-time search went live briefly in July last year with hits from recent Tweets appearing in the search results but when the Twitter agreement expired, they shut the service, vowing it would return – apparently waiting until the firm’s own Google+ service could fill the gap.
The new search function will also offer a new toggle icon on the top right of the results page which will allow users to turn on and off ‘personal results’ for search queries.
"We named our company after the mathematical number googol as an aspiration toward indexing the countless answers on web pages, but that’s only part of the picture. The other part is people, and that’s what Search plus Your World is all about," said Singhal.