While Google+ is now open to all users, I have been resisting the urge to join Google’s social network primarily for two reasons:
1. I am on Google Apps and don’t want to create another Google Account just for the purpose of joining Google Plus.
That said, Google search may eventually force me into joining the Google Plus party.
Author’s Authority and Google+ Circles
Sometime back, Google introduced a new author tag to accurately identify the author of an article. If the connection between a web page and the author’s Google Profile is properly setup, the author’s name and picture would show up in Google search results.
All it required was a Google Profile and it didn’t matter if you were on Google+ or not. That seems to have changed now. Google has recently started including information about the author’s Google+ circle in search results as shown in the above screenshot.
Google Circles are possibly a signal of author’s popularity /influence just like you have followers on Twitter or fans on Facebook pages. If you are not on Google+, only your name is displayed in Google search results.
If Google search users are more likely to check stories that display the author’s “circle count,” I’ll probably have no choice but to join Google Plus. I however completely fail to understand why Google needs to add that “number” in their search results.