Google may have the world’s largest search engine, but they can turn it on a dime!

Earlier today Google’s new Search Plus Your World (SPYW) disappeared from my Chrome browser for several hours. It was back to what looked like “Google Classic.” After a browser restart a few minutes ago SPYW was back…but something had changed.

Suspecting that the “downtime” might have been Google installing an algorithm change, I did the now classic “proof search” for SPYW: “music.” Until today, this search returned Britney Spears as the top result in the “People and Pages on Google+” box for all users.

Google SPYW Search for Music

Results before today -

Also, Britney’s Google+ profile was near the top of page 1 of the actual results when searching for her name. This result was roundly criticized by many tech bloggers as delivering less-than-relevant results, as Britney has far larger followings (and posts more often) on other networks, such as Twitter.

Where’s the Britney?

But now a search for “music” gives me the “People and Pages” box shown below.

New Google Results for Music

Three more obscure musicians, certainly less famous than Britney. Each of them has a large six-digit following, but perhaps more important: each of them posts more recently and more frequently than does Britney.

Could Google SPYW be moving toward more real relevance?

Hello, Twitter!

So next I searched “Britney Spears.” First result is her personal web site (as it should be). Second is her Wikipedia page. Following that area number of popular YouTube videos. But most significantly, the first social media result is Twitter, and her Google+ profile isn’t even on the first page!

Other users I asked on Google+ are seeing the same sort of changes today. This looks like a major response to one of the most strident criticisms of the new Google search.