For a few months now, you may have noticed that Google is increasing the amount of social data it uses and includes in search results. It sometimes displays content from your friends, surfaced from various social networks and across the web, other times adds +1 button data.More recently it started showing content from your friends or the people you follow on Google+.
That was one of the big promises of a popular social network for Google, it would be able to leverage all of the data to improve search and its other products, ultimately improving ad performance and making more money.
With Google+ being relatively popular and successful, it's got more than 45 million registered users, Google is already seeing enough data to make it relevant on a large scale.
It's using that data to enhance search results, but, at the same time, it's started to add more Google+ elements into Search itself, like it did with more and more of its other products.
For example, it's started linking the profiles of authors or simply influential people to the content they create online. For some search results, Google now links back to the Google+ profiles of the authors.
It's doing more than that though, it's now making it possible to add them to your Google+ circles from the search page.
"We’ve added a few improvements to the author information you see in the search results, so you can find out more about the authors behind the articles and engage with them directly," Wanda Hung, software engineer at Google, wrote.
For authors, celebrities, or just plain popular Google+ users, you'll now see their circle count in Google Search, indicating how many people follow them, but also how many comments there are to that particular article or post.