Google+ content is slowly — but very surely — expanding its footprint inside of Google.com’s main search results. The latest integration comes via the rel=author tag that Google’s been supporting since the summer.
Mike Blumenthal tipped us to this latest change, which may (or may not) still be in testing.
Here’s how it works for me, which — as I’ll explain below — is slightly different from what Mike B. is seeing.
When a search result with rel=author appears in Google’s search results, the author’s avatar and the adjacent byline both now link to a new Google search results page that begins with the author’s Google+ profile. (As best I can recall, those used to just link directly to the Google+ profile page.) Below the Google + profile information is “More results,” all of which come from the author.
The Google+ profile integration is even more substantial if you’re searching directly on the author’s name. In this case, Google shows a couple recent Google+ posts in addition to the profile information.
Maybe what’s most interesting about this is that, once you click the author’s avatar or byline, it acts as a search filter that continues on future searches. After doing the above, if I change my search term to “seo,” I continue to see only results that I’ve authored and the Google+ profile box remains at the top of the search results. In fact, in the example that Mike Blumenthal shows on his blog, my name appears up in the search box as a filter with an “X” to remove the filter.
I’m not seeing that same “X” filter in any browser that I try. Your mileage may vary.
(Added: This “persistence” appears to be session-based. If I close my Google search tab and then search again in a new tab, the filter no longer remains in place.)
Google has been slowly and quietly inserting Google+ into its main search results recently. We recently wrote about a potential Google+ and Google Places integration that some are seeing, as well as Google+ content appearing as site links on some queries. It seems safe to say that we’ll continue to see more of this in the future.