The most straightforward way Google+ impacts search results is with personalization:People who follow on Google+ are more likely to see it.People who follow anyone who +1's the content are more likely to see it.
This is already a very big deal. If you can build a strong audience of your own, or if major influencers in your market space +1 or share the content, this can get you a lot of exposure to your target market.
Part of Hummingbird was to allow Google to better process signals other than links, such as signals from social platforms. This is quite interesting! While this new information makes it sound like Google is not using social signals yet, it makes it sound like it is definitely coming!
We know that the personalization impact is quite strong, and that Google+ posts themselves can rank in the SERPs. This is already a compelling reason to engage in Google+, especially if there is a real audience for you there. We also know that Google gets the information from Google+ directly. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, there is no crawling involved in this process. Google+ also is continuing to grow, and it is strategic to Google's plans. With Hummingbird, it seems increasingly likely that Google+ will have some influence on non-personalized results.
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