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January 10, 2012 9:30 AM

Google+ Users to Start Getting More Personalized Search Results

Jan. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Google Inc. will provide more personalized search results for users of its Google+ social service, tapping into the photos, news and comments that are posted in their network.

A new service called 'Search, Plus Your World' will display users' own content from Google+, along with posts from friends, said Amit Singhal, who focuses on improving information retrieval at Mountain View, California-based Google. If someone searched for a dog, for instance, pictures of friends' dogs might show up first in their search results.

'At Google, we always want to return the most comprehensive and relevant answers to your questions, and many times those answers are in the open public Web, but many times those answers are in your own personal content,' Singhal said. 'This is the first time we're bringing personal content right into the results page.'

Google, the world's biggest search engine, aims to ward off competition from Microsoft Corp.'s Bing and Facebook Inc. Last year, Bing began displaying Facebook data, such as restaurants, brands and links friends have recommended, in its search results. Facebook has more than 800 million members, compared with more than 40 million for Google+ as of October.

While Google remains dominant in Internet queries, Microsoft has gained ground. In November, Bing had 15 percent of U.S. Internet queries, up from 14.8 percent the previous month, according to ComScore Inc. Google's share was 65.4 percent, down from 65.6 percent.

As part of Google's search changes, the company is rolling out a feature called 'Profiles in Search.' It has an auto- complete function that brings up links to friends' Google+ accounts while users are still entering queries in the search box. It also will give suggestions on whom to follow on Google+.

Google's new personal content on search-results pages, which will be rolled out in the coming days, can come from Google+ accounts or its photo-sharing feature Picasa.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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