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So this is what the + is for now. Go ahead, enter [+pepsi] in the Google Chrome omnibox.

This looks like the first time Google's fundamental search syntax has been changed to support a new product. Right? Wow.

So I guess now we know how meaningful the "plus" is. It at first seemed like a generic advertising term, like "Google Deluxe". Then when we started using G+, it seemed like it was just their riff on the @ syntax. Now we know it goes all the way to the input box on www.google.com, the very center of the Google user experience.

Now, queries starting with a plus basically shunt you to Google+ instead of web search. To the average Google user, it's like their country's phone company created new phone numbers that start with #. Can they do that? They just did.

The upshot is that Google has officially carved out part of the web search query universe just for a namespace of its own. Remember this day.




Entering "+pepsi" into my copy of Chrome, or into the Google Search page itself, just does a standard Google search for Pepsi. I'm in the UK. Is this US-only functionality?

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I should clarify that it's not in quotes, my fault for not using bracket syntax (now edited).

But for me here in California, [+pepsi] entered in either box takes me to Pepsi's Google+ page — and crucially, not to pepsi.com.

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i didn't use quotes and still get a regular search

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Worked for me with Chrome 15.0.874.106

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That's bizarre. What happens if you type something that should have a plus? E.g. a phone number with the country code (+353 01 etc)

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Letting Google's Instant feature get results on "+pepsi", I get the normal "pepsi" results.

However, if I hit the search button, I go to Pepsi's G+ page.

Also in Firefox (7), "+pepsi" in the search bar goes right to their G+ page.

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i don't get any new functionality from the omnibox either, and even searching on google.com/ncr for +pepsi doesn't return a google+ page, just pepsi's website.

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I had to type it in, not copy-and-paste, and got it.

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AOL keywords all over again?

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I think Google is attempting to be brilliant, but I think it will cause them lots of problems in the longrun. Right now, a lot of people who want to visit pepsi.com just go to Google, type in "pepsi", and assume pepsi.com will be the first result. Google seems to want to sidestep this and allow people to search for +Pepsi, which will take them straight to the product page for Pepsi.

So what happens when you have two companies that have the same name? A classic example of this is the problem that rose with Nissan.com. It was registered by a guy who's last name was Nissan, to promote his family's computer business, Nissan computers. Then the car company tried to sue them to kingdom come.

Bring this dynamic into Google Plus. You have two companies called Nissan, and they both want product pages. Do you let them both be "+Nissan", do you force them to be "+Nissan Cars" and "+Nissan Computers", or do you let one be "+Nissan" and one be "+Nissan Computers", based on trending and search results? Or do you let one pay you lots of money to be ranked above the other?

If this sounds familiar, it's because it's both a recreation of the phone book, as well as Yahoo before they turned portal. I sense Google will get away with paid ranking because "it's their product" and they don't have to deal with net neutrality issues.

My trust in Google just tanked even more.

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Talk of paid rankings are premature and mentioning net neutrality is a red herring. Net neutrality has nothing to do with the impartiality of Google Search.

It also appears that the +[keyword] redirect in Google Search only happens with verified pages. I assume +[keywords]/Google+ Pages are going to be first-come-first-serve like twitter/facebook/etc with exceptions for trademarks.

Edit: It seems that the +[keywords] redirect is determined algorithmically.

> A page’s eligibility for Google+ Direct Connect is determined algorithmically, based on certain signals we use to help understand your page's relevancy and popularity. In addition to this analysis, we look for a link between your Google+ page and your website. To help Google associate this content, be sure to connect your Google+ page and your website using the Google+ badge, or by adding a snippet of code to your site, in addition to adding your website link to your page.

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IDK if this is new or not, but I just checked out my account settings page and it now includes this (default unchecked)

> Automatically add a Google+ page to my circles if I search for + followed by the page's name.

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