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Google+ and the trend to curated results

It seems like the Google+ team is slowly coming around to engrossing its “automated but moderated” approach in a broader way. Previously, the rather exclusive “Instant Upload” feature pushed all the photos you took on your mobile devices into the cloudonto the moon and allowed you to selectively share and edit them from a nice interface inside of Google+.

Then, at Google I/O 2012, the Google+ History preview was made available to developers. In short, it’s a way for applications to push automated events into your own, personal history from which you then share selected events with your circles.

Right now, it only tracks some internal Google stuff:

A screenshot showing a couple of events from the Google+ history page

Google+ History

On Google I/O, as I gather, people already demonstrated other options for integrating things into Google+ history. (Fun fact: last.fm still doesn’t do open graph with Facebook.)

And if you visit someone’s profile on Google+ with the history enabled, you find the following screenshot, offering you to have a look at music, places, reviews, comments, reservations and purchases. There’s no way to specifically add anything, I’ve tried fiddling with places, reviews and comments; I tried sharing one of my ‘bought’ (installed) apps to the stream, but the moments page doesn’t update (yet — 2012-06-30).

Screenshot of the "moments" developer section of a Google+ profile

But this is a very good indication of where Google is heading: curated results.

Google has always been pretty straight on what their goals were: increasing the value of human/machine interaction. After the expansion from being a quite pure search engine/geek tech joint, this has also –due to transitivity– lead to increasing the quality of human/human interaction.

What this has lead to is that all the services strive to give you the best results possible for what you are asking for. Google+, as a tool, leverages the opinions of people that interest you as another factor. Thus far, this has mostly been limited to the effect of +1s: with personal search results, you’d rather happen upon stuff other people recommend as useful reading — or which they may even have wrote themselves — for a topic.

This is about to change, I’d presume. The “moments” tab, despite being a good stalking tool when it actually becomes usable, is also a recommendation frontend. It will show you what other people like to do, where they like to go, when they like to go (gleamed from the “reservations” tab, which will probably interface with the OpenTable integration in Google Local), etc.

That’s a pretty big step. Along with the newly introduced Google Now, just imagine how interesting it suddenly gets when Google Now knows you haven’t got plans for dinner — okay, this will probably scare people. Nevermind. Let’s assume it doesn’t, and then it comes along saying, thanks to Google+ integration: “Hey, you really like yourself some burger joints, Tobias does too — and he enjoys going to Culux, which is similar in taste! Would you like to book a table? Or ask Tobias if he’d share his reservation?”

Well, this is an extreme example, and, from a privacy point of view, it’s downright scary. But it does offer up a probable view of where Google is trying to get to. And, hey, if you can throw in a little advertisement — “Tobias and you should really check out this great burger deal at $someotherplace” — and know it will hit true, that’s a good increase in market value, too, isn’t it?

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