Google's New Search Results Should Creep You Out

search plus your world screenshot from googleEven though Facebook underwent a major overhaul and inundated us with changes months ago, people are still complaining all the time that they can't get their News Feed to stay put on "Recent Stories" over "Highlighted" ones. It seems try as we might, Facebook still wants to default to Highlighted and assume it knows what we want to read. So so annoying. Now, if that wasn't bad enough, we're going to have to deal with the same BS via Google.

Yup, starting yesterday, the search engine we all use as our default has begun implementing something they call Search Plus Your World, which is a snazzy way to say they're adulterating your Google searches with your own personal content. But for as "personalized" as it's supposed to be, it's kind of ironic that they're not even giving us a choice in the matter. I'm totally weirded out by how my searches have already been co-opted.


Turns out, if you're logged into any part of Google -- Gmail, Google Calendar, Google+ of course, etc. -- you're automatically opted in to Search Plus Your World. And your search results get totally skewed toward whatever content your connections on Google+ have shared. So, for instance, I ran a search for "The Stir," and usually, you'd get our logo and other random things in the image results ... But when I did the search while logged into Gmail, Google decided I wanted personal photos of other Stir writers! Okay, maybe not that creepy, being that these people are my friends and co-workers, heh, but the fact that Google has basically hijacked regular search results and started to assume that I want results from only my inner circle (no pun intended) is redonkulous and beyond annoying!

It also totally sucks that we're being opted into this without choosing to. But there is a toggle on the upper right hand corner of the results page where you can see what your search results look like without personal content. Whew for that.

Maybe I'm overreacting ... Maybe it's merely an inconvenience. But mark my words: If the Google doesn't hand a bit more power back to the people, we're going to start searching for another search engine altogether. (Hey, Bing, what's up?)

Have your searches been infiltrated by "Search Plus Your World" yet?


Image via The Official Google Blog

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