LOVE IT OR HATE IT…THE FUTURE OF SEARCH IS HERE

This past week Google announced its somewhat controversial “Search Plus Your World” feature to Google Search. When you are signed into your Google account (Google+, Gmail, YouTube…) you will now begin to see aspects of Google+ show up in your search results. This is an optional feature that can be turned off, but you can imagine the magnitude of this feature moving forward.

Last night I did a Google Image search for “Wrangell-St. Elias” to look for images of this beautiful region of Alaska. Who showed up first? Some of my friends and professional colleagues that I am connect to in a handful of online networks, including Google+: +Jon Cornforth +Carl Donohue +Scott Slone and +Ron Niebrugge made up the top 13 images. Why is this important?

1.) Because their images showed up first because I am connected with them.

2.) Because I would much rather see their images then random ones when reaching a location to document myself.

Search Plus Your World

When you add someone to your circles, content those people publish will show up in your search results if relevant to your initial search. When you +1 content on Google+ or the Internet, you are basically recommending that content and that will influencing the search results of those that have connected with you. See how it works?

Web site designers are already beginning to cry fowl at the new feature, saying it is breaking up the fabric of search…and more realistically their jobs when it comes to SEO and web design. The reality is that this IS the future and there is no stopping it. Twitter is already connected with Bing and prioritizes search and I can almost guarantee you that Facebook will jump into the game at some point. Currently Google accounts for 67% of search on the internet, which is a huge number and regardless what tech bloggers want to say, I only seeing that increasing. The general public is interested in getting content shown to them and if that content that shows up first happens to be connected to people they have connected with online, they will eat it up. Is this perfect, no. Does it need more advanced filters, such as those that were alluded to in the TED talk, “Filter Bubble”, ABSOLUTELY . But this is the future. This is the direction that we are headed online. Personalized content.

This was one of the reasons I made a huge bet and choose to make a huge investment with my time as soon as I heard Google was launching a social network. If you are active on Google+, there will be benefits to your content being found outside the network. Those that want to fight or ignore these facts will only be left behind. Twitter and Facebook will NOT allow Google to index their public posts, because they know that any social network’s biggest value is its content. With Search Plus Your World, they knew this and made a solid bet. The FCC is looking into this feature because some have said it creates a Monopoly. My bet is that nothing comes from that because Twitter and FB will never give up their users data. Google+ is where it is at, atleast for me…

Welcome to the new personalized Internet!


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  • https://plus.google.com/115614791007645952267 Patricia Davidson

    Thanks for posting this +Colby Brown. I've not had time to read about it but I have noticed the search results. Will be interesting to see what the others do with their search.

  • https://plus.google.com/110854340535721492783 Eric Hunt

    It will be interesting to see if the FTC here in the USA decides this is against the law.

    I personally have turned it off. I want to search the web, not my social circle.

  • https://plus.google.com/100968313568314999910 Joe Azure

    Well said! All the SEO folks should be jumping up and down happy that the job is evolving and will create more work for which they may be hired. Nobody ever said that the the state of SEO was ever going to remain static. Original content should be king.

  • https://plus.google.com/101884585568919816868 David Giral

    I think this is great, more visibility is better.
    However, unless you mention directly on each image whether it's copyrighted, I don't think there is anything letting people know the type of copyright on each of the google + images you have.

  • https://plus.google.com/110223582430497700398 Alektron Prime

    Definitely not on the "hate" side.
    Liked that tea mug most :)
    Thank you for the post.

  • https://plus.google.com/108702743368655612177 Rafael da Hora

    AS IM

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    +Eric Hunt – and you have that choice for sure, but I am betting your average user does want it. Heck I am a power user and I am careful with who I connect with. So in that sense, I trust their content more then others. Does that mean I want to only see there stuff…absolutely not. But the prioritizing is phenomenal for those that are or want to get ahead of the curve.

    The FCC will not find fault in this because the other big boys will not come to the table. Hard to have a monopoly if it is optional for your competitors to partake but they choose not to.

  • https://plus.google.com/113826445430709315059 Dirk Heindoerfer

    +Colby Brown Do you by chance know how the index is built for the search results and their priorities:

    1. Text of post
    2. + 1
    3. Share
    4. Caption
    5. Comment
    6. EXIF ??

    means how can we optimize our posts to show up the best in search ?

  • https://plus.google.com/114231305708772868829 Sathish Jothikumar

    Very interesting. Have to see how this pans out. In the meantime, how do a increase or exposure on G+ to get more visible in public searches?

  • https://plus.google.com/101734509590067269774 Gabriel Bousquet

    I love what they have done! I can still see my normal search, but if any of my friends or people I follow (respect the opinion of) have anything specific to say about it, I can see that as well. I can't think of a better combination.

    It also shows other "closed" or silod networks the true power and usefulness of open. Brilliant.

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    Interact and engage with others +Sathish Jothikumar

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    +Dirk Heindoerfer – I do not personally know the algorithm

  • https://plus.google.com/110854340535721492783 Eric Hunt

    +Colby Brown – I am not as confident the process in Washington will play out in a fair manner. Google has refused to play the game in Washington and they now have a regulatory target on their back.

    The current inquiry into integrating G+ into search is also centered around inadvertent disclosure of private information. Some are claiming that Google putting your limited-sharing content into search results will confuse people and cause them to share/reshare things they normally would not.

  • https://plus.google.com/101475898311559705983 Hauwa Yusuf

    Though I'm a bit weary, I like the new feature. If it's integrated well with circles (ie. having the option to select which circles affect your search), I think the feature will enhance search (instead of limit it..)

  • https://plus.google.com/106813712649837733006 Colm Linehan

    I'm not convinced yet. I've left it on, and done some experimental searches, but on the basis of those results, I'm not sure it's a whole lot better. I'll see what happens after a few weeks.

  • https://plus.google.com/113826445430709315059 Dirk Heindoerfer

    +Colm Linehan I think we need to know how we can optimze our posts. But as +Colby Brown said, we have it in our own hands, no need for SEO experts. Thats a huge benefit in my book. It gives me, the artist the control.

  • https://plus.google.com/102349305007676725479 Olivier Du Tré

    Fantastic news! As yourself Colby the minute I heard google had a social network I searched and begged my IT friend for an invite. Because I knew this was a train I couldn't miss.

  • https://plus.google.com/115204805503581947511 QT Luong

    One thing that I found disturbing is that in the past months, on my Google alerts under my name, only my own G+ posts show up. But I know that people link to me and credit me. +David Giral why would you need to specify the licensing model of your photos ? by default they are all rights reserved. +Sathish Jothikumar evangelize for G+ so maybe they will put you on the recommended users list :-)

  • https://plus.google.com/108625703815216743905 Leif Sikorski

    I pretty much like the search engine for two reasons:
    1) personalized search results are saving a lot of time
    2) more control about the top results. The idea to have some kind of control about the personal search results by placing interesting people and pages in my circles is just great.

    But I also agree that there must be more filters. One thing I would like to see is an option to select which circles show up in my search results.

  • https://plus.google.com/106787788124127706441 Alexis Coram

    I think it's cool…I've already seen it working!

  • https://plus.google.com/102926180441346782513 Eloy Sanchez

    Actually FB is dealing with Bing who also doesn't show Twitter results until its second page and more ironically Twitter has nothing to say about that

    On all other points I could not agree more

  • https://plus.google.com/108759901321068677229 Dru Stefan Stone

    I noticed this the other day when +Olav Folland 's Chicken Parmesan conversation came up when I was searching for a recipe!

  • https://plus.google.com/102850203708540350888 Mahesh RS

    Wow! +Colby Brown that's the best explanation anyone has ever given of the new "SPY World" by Google. Keep us educated with your wonderful articles.

    I am posting a link to this on my twitter.

  • https://plus.google.com/104972713938717882861 Karthik Nagaraj
  • https://plus.google.com/112870233271447799154 James Percy

    I have to agree that this is the future. I am not convinced that I am overly comfortable with this future but, as you mentioned, it can be turned off for now. Thanks for posting.

  • https://plus.google.com/105186721590280038089 anas lover

    wow nice placeses

  • https://plus.google.com/117901454170737863836 Ar D Karriban

    More to it : I just discovered Windows Media Player pictures and videos downloaded into the laptops with Google+ are streaming and connected; so lets say you have Nokia that connected streaming its Mass Memory or Phone Memory, you are there to be streamed everywhere you fashioned your G+ or Facebook during each updates, or at even when you snap a picture that marks your geolocation. But in Google, you cannot control the streaming, unlike Facebook which is raw with option to on or off your decision to communicate with the rest of the world. to some people, they prefer to be discovered so protect their security. So, internet is far better than the human-RFID (?)

  • https://plus.google.com/105338054868753236780 Bryan Lutz

    I like this option, I would also like it if twitter and Facebook would allow this option on googles search. The more options the better.. I think Bing and yahoo should give their searches these options also. I just love options I guess.. I'm going to stop saying option now, but I do thank google for giving us this and I wish some of the other big tech companies would give more to their users…

  • https://plus.google.com/112136531175275226163 Ricky Olano

    I don't see this as a privacy issue. If you put yourself out there on the net by commenting, or posting pics, videos, etc. then how is it a privacy issue? If you don't want to show up in results, STAY OFF THE NET. Why do people want one thing and then bark fowl when they get more than they expected? This is what makes the net so great. And it enhances your opinion by allowing it to show up in ways we would have had to work very hard for otherwise. Its doing part of the job for us.

    If you want to stay private, don't post things publicly on the internet. The last thing you should want is for the internet to be controlled by people who want you only to see their prescribed content. You should have the choice of what you post and what you read and see.

    So far you do, but if "they" have their way with some law like SOPA or Protect IP, then you will only see what they want you to see. You will only hear what they want you to hear. Your only "CHOICE" will be what "Their Will is for You". That will be the time you should stand up and say NO. Hopefully that time will never come but if you do nothing, don't protest in some way, then that is exactly what will come to pass.

  • https://plus.google.com/112870233271447799154 James Percy

    +Ricky Olano I think it is a bit extreme to think that it has to be an "all or nothing" with the internet. Why can't I post things online (for example share with my "Friends" circle) and have to automatically assume that it is now going to be public data? I can be very careful with my privacy settings but, if one of my friends or someone else I choose to share with is not that careful, I have to lose my privacy? I am all for sharing and improving the content that is out there but, I want to know that if I want something kept close, it will not be at risk.

  • https://plus.google.com/111151133269873073822 Ron Bearry

    This is the place! :)

  • https://plus.google.com/113330053950020592701 Olav Folland

    +Dru Stefan Stone did you try it? It's a pretty tasty chicken parmesan ;)

    So far, I don't see this as a bad thing, though. My only concern is how it's going to affect my ability to search for things at work – but I doubt that will because the terms are generally very specific and technical in nature, or circuit board components.

    I'm also a little surprised at how surprised people are – it's been said since the start the public posts are indexed, and I've seen that in searches for a while. Weighting by personal relevance was the next logical step.

  • https://plus.google.com/102926180441346782513 Eloy Sanchez

    +James Percy If you share it with your friends it will only come up for your friends search results G+ is kinda based on that concept share with right people so no its not one or the other. I think he referred to public posts only

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    +QT Luong – I am not sure why you find that disturbing, since they just now started showing more content from Google+. I too have Google Alerts set up for "Colby Brown Photography" and a hand full of other searches to arrive in my gmail inbox every morning. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see how those results increase.

    As far as the Recommended User List. I know you answer was tongue in cheek, but no one got on this list for "evangelizing" Google+. They got on the list because Google saw reason to have those individuals represent various interests on the network. I am 100% behind the idea that it needs fine tuning and should be opening to more individuals, but it wasn't because of bias. For me, I got on the list because I wrote a guide for Google+ for Photographers that was read 500,000+ times and because of the community development projects I started that got people engaging more. It was my content and the way I approached Google+ that helped get me on the RUL. One of the biggest reasons I continue to say, "Content is King". As a network, we are the ones that decide which content becomes popular, is shared or gets +1s. It is organic. Google just builds the framework.

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    +James Percy – Just to echo what +Eloy Sanchez just mentioned, info you post on Google+ to a limited circle CAN NOT be shared publicly…there for is not indexed publicly. It will influence those you shared it with, but that is it. You control the privacy when you create your content or create your profile on G+ (Controlling what is visible and to whom).

  • https://plus.google.com/113330053950020592701 Olav Folland

    Indeed. Once you've posted something limited, you can't even reshare it yourself publicly, without creating a new post.

    But, ultimately, what this adds to G+ is the ability to go back and find older posts, both your own and others. That is something that had been sorely lacking thus far, and a bit of an embarrassment to the world's largest search engine.

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    +Olav Folland – And you can turn it off with one click of your mouse, button is on the top of the search page, so that you see results just as you would have before it went live.

    +Olivier Du Tré – Smart man. I knew you were more then just amazing black and white images that I find inspiring ;)

  • https://plus.google.com/115204805503581947511 QT Luong

    +Colby Brown Disturbing because it seems to confirm that Google favors its own property (G+) over others in search results.

    I know that you wrote your guide to G+ out of your enthusiasm for the platform and your desire to help fellow photographers, not to "evangelize" but one would be naive not to acknowledge that it helped spread the word about G+ amongst photographers, who happen to be one of the strongest G+ demographic.

    I was not going to comment further on the "list", but since you brought that up: we are certainly not the only ones to decide who becomes popular. I think +Jeffrey Sullivan made the point very clearly in one of his posts. There are many instances when photographer A had less followers and a slower rate of growth than photographer B (so to use your words, the "network" voted for A), but a few months after Google promoted him on the list, surpassed B by an order of magnitude, with the gap growing every day. As a result of having more followers, of course one gets more shares and +1s. The fact that this is now going to affect Google search results, I also find that disturbing. I am not the only one: http://rww.to/x62nFW

  • https://plus.google.com/108759901321068677229 Dru Stefan Stone

    I'm curious why people think Google should not favor their own business entities over others? Wouldn't you do the same with your business? It's simply good business practice after all they are not eliminating others, just keeping their stuff at the top, you can still go elsewhere if you want or use BING.

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    +QT Luong – In Jeffery's own argument, he also mentioned that an increase in numbers does not necessarily reflect an increase in engagement. Content does. Look at my stream. Some things I post receive little response because of their subject matter. Others receive a lot. Having a lot of followers does not make your posts show up in Search….having people interact it does.

    As I said, which those that despise the RUL, seem to ALWAYS overlook is that I just mentioned that it needs to be refined and open to more people. But people don't like to focus on that. They like to be upset that either it isn't more open or they themselves are not on the list.

    I constantly see things in the "Whats Hot" section by individuals with low followings…how is that explained? That person or more importantly, that content, will be seen by more people both in G+ and outside…not because they have a massive following, but because their content was voted for by the masses.

  • https://plus.google.com/111151133269873073822 Ron Bearry

    +Dru Stefan Stone Bingo! (can't believe I said that) :) My thoughts exactly though.

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    followers play a role, but do not make the content. the numbers game argument doesn't work, in my own personal opinion. then it becomes a popularity contest, which is no way to engage in social media or develop a social marketing strategy. I can do more with 500 engaging followers then 50,000 that don't care to interact.

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    +Dru Stefan Stone and +Ron Bearry – Good point. I am going to start promoting other people's photography workshops over mine and see how well that goes :)

  • https://plus.google.com/108759901321068677229 Dru Stefan Stone

    I'd love to get a jump start on my workshops after moving it is not an easy task to restart in a new place! But I'll get there, I have only been here for 3 weeks over the holidays to boot! :) +Colby Brown I rather like the new search set up myself. I think it by far makes it more useable for me. Life is about options and choices and we all have them, if you don't like one thing, you can always go to another! We are a very fortunate people.

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    +Dru Stefan Stone – Agreed. If there was no choice to not use it, I could understand more of the backlash or worry. But there is and as I think we all know…Google is usually much better at a feature or service by the 2nd edition :)

  • https://plus.google.com/108759901321068677229 Dru Stefan Stone

    Exactly +Colby Brown and imagine, they even listen to us!

  • https://plus.google.com/113330053950020592701 Olav Folland

    Well said +Colby Brown. I value the 500 or so people that I engage with on even an occasional basis over the thousands that do not…and the 50 or so I engage with on a nearly daily basis even more. What really surprises me, though are the occasions where I'll post in a thread, particularly offering a critique, and the author starts gushing about how they've been stalking me for months, and I've never even seen their name…

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    I couldn't help it +Olav Folland. You are very "Stalk-able". Didn't have to tell every about it though ;)

  • https://plus.google.com/113330053950020592701 Olav Folland

    Sorry! I tried to keep your name out of it! And in a public thread too, so now all of Google is going to know….

  • https://plus.google.com/115204805503581947511 QT Luong

    Everything else being equal, larger numbers will lead to more engagement.

    Don't "social media experts" say one needs to promote others 90% of the time, and self only 10% ?

    Google is a search engine so the issue is trust. When searching for information, I personally prefer to see the original source rather than a G+ repost, esp. one which is not authorized.

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    I agree +QT Luong on some of your points, although I am not a fan of listening to experts for social media from the few conferences that I have been to, they don't know what they are talking about with everything.

    However you hit the nail on the head, but for Google. It comes down to TRUST ….trusted content. For me, I trust content from you or the photographers I mentioned in the post above, which is why I value their content more then others. Calling it "social search" is just another term for "trusted search". It is for that reason that people are going to love it, the average end user. They trust their friends or their family or those they look up to. They might not always go with those search results, but it is natural for them to look there first. If I am going to eat at a restaurant down the street, do I trust a random review on Yelp or my friend? If I am going to buy a new camera, do I listen to Amazon or trust a colleague?

    Btw…the 90% of the content out there is other peoples on Google search…just that 10% is going to come first :)

  • https://plus.google.com/113330053950020592701 Olav Folland

    +QT Luong – I could counter-argue that a good G+ repost adds to the link via commentary on top of the article. Much in the same way a photo re-share with comments as to why it was shared, or what the person liked/disliked about the photo is more valuable than a blank re-share without any words.

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    BTW – My biggest gripe with Google+ currently is the fact that a share does not automatically include a URL for the original post. I have sent feedback in multiple times for this.

  • https://plus.google.com/113330053950020592701 Olav Folland

    I have too, and TRY to remember to add the post URL in my comments, particularly when it's not a photo share, to get around that.

  • https://plus.google.com/110854340535721492783 Eric Hunt

    +QT Luong – I have to disagree that google is a search engine. Google is an advertising company. I think it's critical more people truly understand this fact when it comes to companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

  • https://plus.google.com/110945896776944314708 Frank Yuwono

    Strange, I'm not seeing any of this on my Google search. Maybe this is a feature for the US only at the moment?

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    Not sure +Frank Yuwono . I would have to ask around. What browser are you using?

  • https://plus.google.com/110945896776944314708 Frank Yuwono

    I'm using Google Chrome and I'm in Australia. When I Googled 'Yosemite' the first few photos were from Wikipedia :)

  • https://plus.google.com/113330053950020592701 Olav Folland

    +Frank Yuwono I know it can take time for this stuff to filter out across the interwebs. I've still got one PC at work with the 'old' G+ bar, even.

  • https://plus.google.com/110945896776944314708 Frank Yuwono

    +Olav Folland you mean there's a new G+ bar?? I guess the rest of the world have to wait longer for everything from Google!

  • https://plus.google.com/113330053950020592701 Olav Folland

    +Frank Yuwono – the fat one with the dropdown options on the side. It's been out for a while, and everyone is supposed to have it. Might need a cache/cookie clear to get it…

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    There is a Chrome extension that forces the new Google+ bar. I will see if I can find it +Frank Yuwono

  • https://plus.google.com/100968313568314999910 Joe Azure

    lol – I don't even have that…

  • https://plus.google.com/116383082805688088798 Jon Cornforth

    +Colby Brown Interesting. Thanks for the information. It will be very interesting how this effects SEO in the coming years. Are you planning a visit to Wrangell-St Elias? The week that I spent there in September 2009 was spectacular. Let me know if I can offer any advice on visiting Alaska.

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    +Jon Cornforth – I am, but not till next year. In July I will be spending 10 days shooting in Sitka. I would love to pick your brain about Alaska and even have a proposal that you might be interested in.

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    +Frank Yuwono +Olav Folland +Joe Azure – Here is the chrome extension to force it. The problem is cookies that expire. The Bar is not on everyones browser just yet…obviously.

    https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/oiamgkpplhllmgmjkmpoapkidpgfhmdo

  • https://plus.google.com/113330053950020592701 Olav Folland

    Cool +Colby Brown thanks!

  • https://plus.google.com/117459925640711320774 Niklas Storm

    To me it's obvious that I want content from people I know (i.e. have circled), since it's usually people I trust. However, it could also be interesting to only get content from specific circles. It's not necessarily so that my photography friends are the best to ask e.g. on software development.

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    +Niklas Storm – Great point. I hope and personally believe that we will get more fine tune controls for Google Search. As I said above, anything Google does is usually much much better by the 2nd revision :)

  • https://plus.google.com/110945896776944314708 Frank Yuwono

    Thanks +Colby Brown the extension works!!

  • https://plus.google.com/106930933794139848428 Carl Donohue

    Hey +Colby Brown .. definitely give me a holler if you're headed toward Wrangell – St. Elias.

    I'm going to need that Chrome extension, I think .. the google search results here don't include the G+ results at all .. on any of my 4 browsers .. I wonder if it's implemented regionally?

  • https://plus.google.com/112825000630810572331 Akash Kalgude

    /Offtopic +Colby Brown In case you've edited the cookie to enable the new Google layout, how did you manage to get rid of the top menu asking you to try it out. Its so annoying to have it on every page, I ended up resetting the cookie :|

  • https://plus.google.com/107013418740229269209 Ron Niebrugge

    Hey I like those search results! +Colby Brown didn't know you were coming up here – let me know if I can be of any help!

    From an SEO perspective, I need to get back to the drawing board and I see only photos from my blog show up in those results, not my main website which historically has ranked high.

  • https://plus.google.com/107013418740229269209 Ron Niebrugge

    +QT Luong makes a good point. Right or wrong, this does add a huge premium for those included on the recommended follower list. Your quote: "I can do more with 500 engaging followers then 50,000 that don't care to interact." used to have merit, but not anymore. Wouldn't you rather have your photos at the top of search results for 50,000 people instead of 500? I think most would. I just think Google is entering a slippery slope when they start playing favorites. I would be lying if I didn't say I would love to be on that list. #little jealous :)

  • https://plus.google.com/106930933794139848428 Carl Donohue

    your site still ranks high wheN i search, +Ron Niebrugge .. damnit. :)

  • https://plus.google.com/106930933794139848428 Carl Donohue

    I already put you on a list, +Ron Niebrugge

  • https://plus.google.com/114614871042282238013 Jamie Rich

    {wades in after having read the Post, but not the Comments.
    At least not yet…} It all depends on why you are in G+, doesn't it? Yes, I'm here because of photography, and yes as a new serious photog wish to make as many good connections as possible. But… on the other hand, if I'm elsewhere, I really don't wish to have Google give me G+ results from a search. Also, I really despise that they just did this, without telling us first! They should have made an announcement, along with a simple Opt Out choice. …just my couple of pennies worth…

  • https://plus.google.com/103264351896543602383 Andrew Mitchell

    Did anyone think there wasn't a business case that was driving Google+. We are their drones, working for free to +1 the world's content, and hence help to sift the good stuff. Of course some have their own interests at heart, it sells their goods or services, but anyone who is doing this in their leisure time should take stock. How does it benefit you? Do you have shares in Google. Nothing is free.

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    +Ron Niebrugge – Well that depends on the algorithm that they use, because interaction with the content still seems to pull the highest rank. So having 500 people follow you and getting 100 +1s means that your post or image will now have a higher potential ranking for EVERYONE those 100 people are connected with since a +1 = a recommendation in SEO terms. So having 50,000 people follow you but only getting 50 +1's would not be as beneficial…does that make sense?

    As I said above, the RUL will need to be adjusted, but since none of us have control over that, the best way we can stay on top of things to harness the followers we do have to create more engagement with the content we all publish. I am also not saying that numbers do not play a role, I just feel is is 2nd to getting people to engage and interact with you. Bing is doing this to some extent with Twitter posts and Facebook is not to be forgotten either. That "slippery" slope is the entire future of online search for all of the big players…not just Google.

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    +Akash Kalgude – If you click on the Google+ icon inside the drop down menu (which is in the Google+ logo) just once, that welcome sign goes away.

  • https://plus.google.com/117459925640711320774 Niklas Storm

    +Carl Donohue, no it doesn't seem to be implemented locally. It works on google.com, but not google.se.

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    +Andrew Mitchell – Fair point. However what do you think Facebook is doing? The biggest difference between the two companies is that FB sells your data to 3rd party companies. Google takes your content and +1s and uses it to show case other content, be that ads, blog posts or other links. Between the two, I am happier with it being kept in house with Google+ rather then sold to the highest bidder. Certainly just my opinion though.

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    +Jamie Rich – Since day 1, it was said that all public posts are indexed by Google Search. This is not as new as it sounds, and you can opt out of it. Don't share anything to the public :)

  • https://plus.google.com/112825000630810572331 Akash Kalgude

    +Niklas Storm If you edit the cookie for google.se in the same manner it should apply for that domain as well.

  • https://plus.google.com/107013418740229269209 Ron Niebrugge

    +Colby Brown That does make sense and I have a feeling we will be seeing many changes and fine tuning in the months to come as Google continues to evolve.

  • https://plus.google.com/107013418740229269209 Ron Niebrugge

    +Carl Donohue Good!

    By the way, you don't need chrome to see the results. Just make sure you are logged on to Google + before trying your search on google.com

  • https://plus.google.com/101513502194754395376 Samuel Tucker

    wow… very interesting! Exciting yet kind of spooky at the same time? :)

  • https://plus.google.com/112825000630810572331 Akash Kalgude

    Thanks +Colby Brown, that worked!

  • https://plus.google.com/116383082805688088798 Jon Cornforth

    +Colby Brown I'm always available to talk to you anytime. I'd still love to do a trip with you one of these years. I've never been to Sitka.

  • https://plus.google.com/103236949470535942612 Charles Lupica

    Search algorithms are generally considered to be trade secrets. If the algorithm is public or can be easily guessed, people will scam the system to push their results to the top.

    Current SEO methods let you create a false sense of value by providing technical methods to increase "apparent" value / weight. A new system, like this one, based on community interaction will be much harder to scam. People/companies that create great content and engage the community will prosper. People / companies that rely on cross referencing and other SEO tactics won't do as well.

    There is a reason that Colby Brown is where he is, and it's far more than RUL. I have to say I was living in a near vacuum before coming to G+. I had no ide of who +Colby Brown was. I had almost no followers, I was new to G+ and a social media "enfant terrible" when I arrived. Colby Brown interacted with me, as did many other people of his G+ Stature. Colby Brown and many of the top photographers on G+ interact regularly with the community. They try to help people starting out, they add content and value to G+ for me. To me this is what makes G+ work. People who have no direct reason to give me the time of day taking time to help me get the most out of G+.

    This is why community ranked content in searches is fantastic and frightening. If I were a big company, I would see this as a big threat. Now my SEO manipulations and high-cost advertising won't necessarily get my product top billing. My company will need to add value. The content will need to be interesting. The interaction will need to be more personal.

    In some ways this is the newest form of democracy. One voice (comment, plus, share) makes a difference. A voices of people I have chosen to trust will influence what I see first. What content arrives on top. That's pretty hard to scam. It sounds interesting to me.

  • https://plus.google.com/108759901321068677229 Dru Stefan Stone

    You put this very well +Charles Lupica !

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    Well said +Charles Lupica and I equal your thoughts on the subject. TIme will tell how everything plays out. Thank you for the kind words. It has been a pleasure interacting with you on a number of subjects and projects.

  • https://plus.google.com/115204805503581947511 QT Luong

    SEO based on "technical methods" and "tactics" is already vastly over-rated, as I explained in http://terragalleria.com/blog/2011/12/20/seo-thoughts-from-a-top-ranked-photographer/

    In some sense, the Google breakthrough has been to leverage the community for search. The community was the entire web. I don't see that as less democratic than possibly relying on a company-owned social network (at the exclusion of other, larger such networks).

    Personally, if this means being super active on G+, I am not totally enthusiastic about the idea that one would need to "engage the community" to prosper. I'd rather prefer to spend that time doing good work.

  • https://plus.google.com/116383082805688088798 Jon Cornforth

    +QT Luong My sentiments exactly! I am just sorry that I can only hit +1 once.

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    As would I +QT Luong , not sure any photographer, full time or not, would rather be starring at a computer screen doing social marketing rather then out shooting. That being said, it is part of the business and many of us have already spent countless hours trying to add SEO to our websites to be seen. This may or may not be the next logical step or evolution in marketing.

    Lastly, if twitter and FB refuse to have their content indexed, how is that Google's problem? Refusal and being denied the ability to participate are certainly different. Personally I want them all on board, but don't see it happening. Maybe I am wrong.

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    Just taking great images has never been enough. Just look at 500px or 1x to see amazing photography work from people that do not make any money in this industry.

  • https://plus.google.com/106930933794139848428 Carl Donohue

    I disagree with +Charles Lupica above .. SEO 'tactics' are reasonably well known, and the info is reasonably available. Taking the time to design and code a website accordingly is a reasonable approach to doing well in the rankings. but simply trying to garner +1s and shares for the sake of it isn't such a great approach .. it's more akin to spam than to sound search results, IMO.

    I'd rather they offer a default of ZERO social media in their results, with an option to turn that on if the user would like.

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    +Carl Donohue How do your spam your followers to get +1's and comments? One would think it would be community driven. I personally dont +1 content I don't like. Making spam accounts and driving up your own numbers will serve you no good because people still have to connect and interact with those spammers, which doesn't happen. How do you game a system built on curating the content you like?

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    As I said in the OP, the age of ZERO influence on search is gone. Why do we think FB is tracking the pages we visit outside of the network? Advertising $ is why. In the very least, I see having to engage with those that care enough to follow your work is much better then coding a website. This is of course from a guy that outsources all my html and web development needs though.

  • https://plus.google.com/111240230493422963077 Vicki Wilson

    It is the visibility in a Google Search which is not supposed to be biased that people are concerned about. I do know that if I am not logged into Google+, the images that show up in a personalized search do not show up. Once I log in to Google+ I can see my photos for a given search. The question is will everyone who is logged into Google+ regardless of having me in a circle can find my photos, or only those who have circled me? Type this search in and let me know "Swan Lake and Iris Gardens Sumter SC"
    +Colby Brown I am curious if you will see the images I have posted show up just under the main website as I do or not?

  • https://plus.google.com/106930933794139848428 Carl Donohue

    Hey +Colby Brown .. because it makes the game include sharing and +1ing other peoples work simply they return the favor .. which, if we're honest, is definitely a large part of the game. But for soc. media, that's fine .. I don't think that kind of dynamic should influence search results. If I want to know what my friends like, I can ask them .. but if I want to search for an article on caligraphy, I would like a search engine that returns results based on caligraphy, not my G+ circles, or F/B friends etc.

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    fair point +Carl Donohue . On the flipside though, judging from the comments in this thread, would you not agree that it seems that people do seem favorable to this kind of search?

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    +Vicki Wilson Will do, but I am on my tablet right now. Will check when back at the office computer in a bit.

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    I guess using my example in the OP +Carl Donohue , I don't see the negative. I know you have photos of the region of Alaska I searched for, but I don't want to have to go ask you, Jan, Ron and Scott to share them with me. By being connected your images showed up first. I liked that. I don't circle or +1 or share just anything. Others might not be so vigilant, but you can not ignore the desire to have or popularity of such a feature from an end user point of view. My wife does a Google search for "Organic Gardening" and something you wrote shows up because you are both connected. That doesn't seem very Machiavellian to me.

  • https://plus.google.com/106930933794139848428 Carl Donohue

    Sure – which is why the option of including that in a search is reasonable, if that's what folks want. Of course, if that's what they really want, they could just do a search on G+, and not have Soc. Media included at all in general google results.

    I think part of the issue is history and context. Rightly or wrongly, we have a general understanding that google (or any search engine results) are returned organically. Google have also made a point of indicating, very clearly, when search results are ads, i.e., "sponsored results". But now that goes away. For example, folks mentioned the RUL above .. wouldn't that kind of make all those people on that list 'sponsored results', every time their G+ content, or favored content, is returned? In my eyes, it would.

    A search engine is more than just a marketing tool; it's also a viable research tool. And research should be something more valid than how many G+ friends someone has, or doesn't have, and how much chatter they engage in on those channels.

  • https://plus.google.com/106930933794139848428 Carl Donohue

    Either way, as you say, it's here, and I doubt it'll go away anytime soon.

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    I agree for the most part with everything you said +Carl Donohue but the problem is not just Google, if that is your take on it. With Google at 67% of search on the internet, bing powered search is 27%, what do you think Bing is going to do with Twitter or FB? I understand and respect your reservations…but where do you see things going? If they all end up doing this, whats your game plan both as an individual and business man?

    For me, I have to make calculated choices based on how things are and where I see things going that will effect my business and lively hood as a photographer and founder of a handful of organizations. It is obvious where I am betting my money. What would you do? Like I said above, I would prefer all social to be integrated, with filters, such as the ones we both agree on from the "Filter Bubble" speech in TED, however not planning ahead could bite you in the end.

  • https://plus.google.com/110243053391500821936 William Ellerbe

    I appreciate the social touch that this new feature provides. Sometimes when I'm searching for a solution on Google for Linux (as an example) the results may tell me that already visited a certain link at some point in time. This insight helps me save time, so that I can focus on another URL if I need to.

  • https://plus.google.com/106930933794139848428 Carl Donohue

    and nobody likes to be bitten in the end. :)

    For my web presence? no solution but to play along best I can.

    For my web searching? Turn the function off, best I can, or use some other tool. And for now, Bing is not using facebook is it? And the "problem" IS google .. as you point out, nearly 70% of search on the web is via google .. so that's a problem, imo.

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    +Carl Donohue – They are the largest, but not the only ones doing it, was more my point. Bing does it with Twitter, although search results very and are on the second page at times for now. With Microsoft purchasing Skype and connecting directly ("betting" more appropriately) with Facebook, you can see where this is going. Just cause Google is the largest, does not excuse the others if you or others have a beef with this practice. FB has talked for years about social search….what do you think the new ticker is for :)

  • https://plus.google.com/106930933794139848428 Carl Donohue

    but size matters … Google are THE major search engine. What they do matters. What Alta vista does? Not so much. Why?

    And it MAY go that way with f/b, neither of us know that at all. But from what I've seen, G+ have stepped above and beyond .. when a G+ share of an article returns higher than the article itself, on a major tech website, for unlogged in users, I think that's a little unreasonable. I'd be surprised if anyone thinks otherwise, to be honest.

    Why would anyone want to use facebook as any kind of standard? Isn't that like saying 'well, Hitler did it'? :)

  • https://plus.google.com/113455290791279442483 Colby Brown

    hahah +Carl Donohue …touche…just brought them up because they are the biggest social network in the room. Plus I hear size matters ;)