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There’s been plenty of coverage about the integration of Google+ into search over the past few days, but this particular iteration really caught our attention:
As you can see in the screen shot, the ‘ask a friend’ option sits at the bottom of the first page of Google’s search query results, just before the links to subsequent pages.
As such, it’s a great way to extend the brand’s meaning beyond what its existing algorithms can deliver – especially considering that 85% of users never look beyond the first page of search results.
Clicking on the ‘Ask on Google+’ link brings up a dialogue box directly on the search page that allows the user to post a question to their Google+ account:
The question is even pre-populated – the image above shows the text it chose for my original search query, which was “the future of social media”.
While ‘ask a friend’ is a fantastic addition in itself, it feels like an opportunity for Google to appease critics of the search / social integration; giving users the option to ask the same question to different networks – e.g. Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook – would make a lot of sense.
It would also allow Google to start mapping the kinds of content people feel are most appropriate for their different social networks – data which, in the long run, would allow them to optimise Google+ for different kinds of audience.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on how this on-going integration evolves over the coming weeks and months, but please feel free to share your own interesting discoveries and observations too – just give us a shout on Twitter if you see anything!