Google has begun integrating + information, like profiles, stream updates and more, into search results.
Much of the internet is crying foul because of antitrust claims (the biggest search monopoly propels it’s own property to the foreground), but the move seems inevitable. I don’t see it as a “catch up” strategy because the approach will only work so well — Google+ hasn’t scaled nearly as fast or as large as Twitter and Facebook, so the kind of results one will get are niche at best. In my case, only 1/10 of my friends are on Google+, and their updates are slim to none.
Integrating Facebook shares has it’s own privacy issues that are avoided when Google uses their own technologies that we all “signed up for.” If people saw specific status updates via a Google search, that would look creepier, right?
The only information that Google owns is information you provide to them. With Facebook and other social networks, that information does not belong to Google, so they can’t use it unless the networks sold it to the search giant.
The biggest effect this announcement has is with the +1 feature. As I predicted, Google+ is going to change search rankings with the power of it’s network, supposedly using it to predict the results that would matter to you. It brings them first, but doesn’t censor others. You can still find what you want, just log out of Google.