Though a little late to the party, Google's search engine has finally embraced, albeit in a totally self-serving way.
The search giant announced Wednesday that it's letting people in the US and Canada query its engine for hashtags, meaning now they can type in something like "#emmys" or "#nfl" or "americascup" on Google.com to see related status updates appear to the right of regular results.
The giant catch is that the featured updates will include only those shared on Google+, Google's own social network. Should you wish to find hashtagged content from Twitter or Facebook on Google, you're out of luck. The search giant does, however, politely link out to those destinations in the regular search results.
Google's hashtag implementation also favors relevance over timeliness, as the sidebar of Google+ posts appears to cycle through "best of" updates instead of showing the most recent posts. Google users will also only be able to view the Google+ posts that have been publicly shared with them, Google software engineer Zaheed Sabur noted in a Google+ update on the release.
The release, though limited in its scope, further ties Google's search engine to its social network and will potentially expose searchers to the best of Google+, should they actually think to search for hashtags.