Google is moving public posts from Google+ into its social search functionality. This move signals the beginning of Plus's graduation and may indicate further integration in the near future.
Plus's Move to the Search Results
While Google moving public Google+ posts to the search results is no small deal, it's not exactly unexpected, either. The posts from Plus will be showing up in the exact same format as other results promoted by Google social search – meaning that this shift indicates only an inclusion of Google+ in an existing feature.
Additionally, the Plus posts aren't pushing into the SERP carelessly. For a recommendation from Google+ to show up, the following criteria must be met: The original post must be public; the searcher must be following the original poster on Google+; and the searcher must be logged into their Google account.
Google+ is just one of several social services that already contribute to social search. The other current services include Flickr, Twitter, Quora, and Google Buzz.
Those who see this as a way to promote Google+ are missing something; there's no way this feature can promote Google's social network, because you already have to be a member to see the results. While there may be a minor bonus to user loyalty on Plus, the bigger news here is what this signals for the status of Google+
Plus is still less than two months old, but Google is already integrating it into their search results page. This is a definite vote of confidence for the social network's readiness – though perhaps not an overwhelming one; the almighty failure that was Google Buzz is also a part of social search. Still, Google certainly seems ready to use Google+ elements as part of their other services, possibly including a revived Realtime Search or even an additional algorithmic metric.