Google Search Plus Your World

To ‘Google’ something is now common lexicon.  Some of us remember the time there was no such thing as Google searching – I’m not one of those people.  And I’m usually not on the cutting edge of information technology, or else I’d own boedeker@gmail.com or even jboedeker@gmail.com. But that’s about to change, Google Search Plus Your World (SPYW)  is the next step beyond your traditional search, and I’m fully cognizant of it. Google SPYW determines what is relevant in search queries influenced by a person’s groups, friends, and past searches. The company aims to personalize your results by including more Google+ Profiles, business pages, posts and Google+ and Picasa Photos. You must be signed in with Google Plus to use SPYW.  Therefore, if you’re not fond of Google+, tough luck, your search results will not be personalized.

So basically, as of now, Google has worked rather methodically in its algorithms of crawling the web during web searches. With Google SPYW, there is no longer a wide net.  There is a proxy of YOU crawling and grabbing and dodging trillions of words and photos and videos that are and aren’t relevant.  It does this by surfacing content that has been shared with you on Google+, as well as public information from its social networking site, and integrates this data into typical Web search results.

With SPYW, your friends’ online experiences are more relevant to your personal search results than links and domain authority. However, if your search results end up not being relevant, you may have your friends to unthank, unlike, or un+.  Google+ has a new feature that not only helps you make new friends with similar tastes and ideas, but also ones that will help you search the web. Yep, a twofer.  The feature allows searchers to start a conversation directly from search results, with their friends, and contribute to the conversation through Google+ stream.

There are three types of Google+ data that will show up in your SPYW results:

  • -Personal results: includes data from your own photos and posts, as well as Google+ data that has been shared with you.
  • -Profiles in search: more Google+ profiles appearing in your search results.
  • -Profiles and Pages: results from Google+ business pages and notable Google+users.

I hear the libertarians marching!  Put those torches and pitchforks down – no one will know what your searching for and what phrase you used (well except for you and Google, at least for now – they donʼt wanna creep us out too quickly). I guess after writing that, you can keep only the torches lit, and use them only for nonviolent castle wandering.  With SPYW your results are hidden behind http:// and no keywords will be linked to your search in any analytics program. If you are super creeped by this, or feel your personal liberties are being violated, there is a new opt-out feature that is available to all users searching Google in English. And you if want to go ahead and adjust your search settings you can here.

Although this may seem like a great idea to some, there has been serious criticism saying they are making its search relevancy worse and favoring their Google Plus social network too much. To some, itʼs frowned upon that the company is using their popularity as a search engine provider to promote its social network by prioritizing Google+ data. Even though the site is expected to have more than 400 million users  by the end of 2012 and 625,000 members are signing up everyday (which may be in part of the 700,000 Android devices sold everyday, which makes signing up for Google Plus easier). Makes me wonder if we’re being manufactured to Google’s will, just as their leading product is labeled, like an android.  Iʼm interested in seeing how this personalized search engine will work out, both the benefits of this new frontier in internet searches, as well as the controversy that is sure to surface.

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RSS Feed + Delicious

Having a Google reader account, where I read news articles from a variety of sources every morning, I really should know what a RSS feed is and how it works.  But like most things connected with digital media I just know it’s there and it works.  Truth be told it’s not the only application I use with little or no understanding.

RSS Feed stands for really simple syndication.  Basically it’s a format that publishes the media from regularly changing content, aka – news sites, blogs, and other online publishers, as a RSS feed to whoever wants it.  They help people who view multiple sites each day, which is how most of us use the internet, and get information they want and need.  Instead of going out (and wasting time) to search for new information, the new information comes straight to you. It allows an individual to stay informed easily by retrieving the latest content from the sites they are interested in.  This provides you with an efficient way to gather information and is a time saver as you are not switching back and forth from each individual site.

Sounds great, so how do you setup a RSS Feed?  It’s a very simple process.  First you need a home for reading the content that your favorite sites post. The software that will be home for your information is called a “RSS reader”, “feed reader”, or “aggregator” and can be web-based, desktop-based, or mobile device based.  The popular web-based “feed readers” include My Yahoo, Bloglines, and Google Reader. They are free but you most likely have to setup an account with the “reader” of your choice.  After you have set-up your reader, to complete the process you will want to subscribe your reader to the websites you like.  To subscribe, go to the websites you want updates on and look for this symbol:

Once you click the symbol you can subscribe and you are good to go!

Delicious is a social bookmarking system that goes hand in hand with your RSS Feed Reader.  Not only can you save your bookmarks with Delicious, you can share your bookmarks too.  Beyond getting the consistent stream of fresh content, users on Delicious can build, categorize, qualify content and tag specific websites.  The more a website is bookmarked by people the more credible the website is viewed.  By using key words, tagging, helps you categorize the information that is published. This is cool because you don’t just have to store your bookmark in one folder, you can create as many unique keywords as you want to tag your bookmark.  Delicious unlike a traditional RSS Feed, where you choose what you want to subscribe to, allows you to discover and explore new and useful sites through other delicious users.  And these Delicious bookmarks can be easily accessed through any browser or RSS reader.