Google is making search even more personal--mostly by making it even easier to scan for information and photos in Google+ and Picasa.
If I want to find out more information, for example, about Miranda July's quirky new film "The Future," I can go to Google.com and see the usual Web results. But with Google's new "Search plus Your World" feature, I can also see "personal results" that will show me what people I know have said about it. If anyone in my Google+ circles has posted on the topic, their contributions will appear in the results. Any related images friends have posted in Picasa would show up as well.
Google also is making Google profiles easily searchable. Now my friends' profiles will appear in the search box via autocomplete if it recognizes that I'm typing their name. There will also be suggestions for various prominent people from Google+ that will pop up based on what name or keywords I'm typing in the search box. There will be a button to add them to a Google+ circle on the search results page if I'm logged in.
For instance, if Ms. July had her own Google+ page, Google would display that result and then let me follow it with a few clicks.
While signed into Google, my search results and private content will be protected with SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption by default, asand are.
Personal results will be marked as "public," "limited" or "only you," and it will be easy to toggle between Web only results or the combined results by clicking on icons of a human (for personal) or a globe (for, well, global results) near the top of the search page.
The personal search features will be rolled out over the next few days to people who are signed in and searching the Google search site in English. You don't need a Google+ profile to see the personal results.
Today's news is yet another step in Google's attempt to make itself the go-to site for finding anything on the public Web or in Google services. Google representatives declined to comment on whether it would eventually include other Google services in the main search site, such as Gmail, Calendar and Apps--but that would certainly make sense.
Separately, the company has dropped its support for Google Desktop, which allowed people to easily search through files on their personal computers. Google announced in September that Google Desktop will no longer be available for download or updated because people are moving to Web-based services such as Google Apps.