Google search page gets social

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This week, Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan reported that Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) did something it never has done before. It added functionality to the Google Search page other than the Google search box we've been accustomed to seeing all these years. And what it added was the ability to share content or view your Google+ activity without explicitly opening a Google+  page, just as you can from many other Google services.

Sullivan thinks this is pretty significant, and while I usually defer to him on just about anything related to consumer search, I'm not sure I agree that it's quite that big a deal. Yes, it's new that we have something else besides search on the search page, but it's something we're used to seeing in GMail, Google Reader and Google Docs and it actually makes a lot of sense to have sharing built into search and to have a consistent approach across services.

Let's say I say search for Google News and I find a page of articles on the latest big story. I could share the whole page of article links, or a whole page of Image results. I think it could be especially useful in these kinds of specialty searches--except that, as Sullivan points out, it requires you to copy and paste the URL, rather than remembering it when you click the Share box.

According to a post on the Official Google Blog earlier this month that announced the forthcoming change, it was based on the idea that we should have a consistent experience across Google services and the Google bar (with links to Google services) and the Google+ box carries this consistency to the most popular service of all, Google Search. 

For more information and screen shots:
- see the Search Engine Land article

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