In true Google fashion the company released their newest innovation on Tuesday with “Search plus your world“. The backlash it caused is not a surprise as this update has officially started the impending Google+ domination countdown.
First, lets talk about what Search plus Your World is, then we’ll get into why it changes everything (again) and what it means for businesses, brands, and you. Fair enough? Great, let’s get into it:
In an effort to create search results that are more personalized and relevant to your world, Google introduced “Search plus your world“. In their own words, this is the general idea:
We’re transforming Google into a search engine that understands not only content, but also people and relationships. We began this transformation with Social Search, and today we’re taking another big step in this direction by introducing three new features:
- Personal Results, which enable you to find information just for you, such as Google+ photos and posts—both your own and those shared specifically with you, that only you will be able to see on your results page;
- Profiles in Search, both in autocomplete and results, which enable you to immediately find people you’re close to or might be interested in following; and,
- People and Pages, which help you find people profiles and Google+ pages related to a specific topic or area of interest, and enable you to follow them with just a few clicks. Because behind most every query is a community.
Together, these features combine to create Search plus Your World. Search is simply better with your world in it, and we’re just getting started.
As could be expected, there was much backlash from the internet community. It seems that no matter what you change, for better or worse, there will always be resistance to change.
Twitter was the first company to speak out against Google’s new search. Here’s a direct quote from one of their representatives:
Often, [people] want to know more about world events and breaking news. Twitter has emerged as a vital source of this real-time information, with more than 100 million users sending 250 million Tweets every day on virtually every topic. As we’ve seen time and time again, news breaks first on Twitter; as a result, Twitter accounts and Tweets are often the most relevant results.
We’re concerned that as a result of Google’s changes, finding this information will be much harder for everyone. We think that’s bad for people, publishers, news organizations and Twitter users.
Many others have voiced their complaints about relevance, and that Google is “pushing” their social network onto people. However, I think the term relevance is really being thrown around rather loosely. I also think that critics are looking to criticize at every corner, just because it sells headlines.
Breaking down the backlash
As for Twitter’s claim, 100 Million users worldwide (half of which are spam bot accounts) means that “News breaks first on Twitter”? I guess that’s true, for the 50 million real people who are on Twitter. But what about for everyone else not on Twitter?
Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Twitter, but this is just a ridiculous claim. Let’s be honest– Twitter is mad because search is one of the things that set them apart from other social networks. The ability to search public tweets and accounts made them into the marketing machine that they are today. Now they realize that Google is indeed the king of the search hill.
To make this argument even worse for Twitter it was released that before all this went down, Twitter dropped their search agreement with Google.
“We are a bit surprised by Twitter’s comments about Search plus Your World, because they chose not to renew their agreement with us last summer (http://goo.gl/chKwi), and since then we have observed their rel=nofollow instructions.” Via Google
A lot of the relevance talk seems to be to the effect of, “Justin Bieber has 16 million followers on Twitter, so that makes his Twitter profile more relevant than Google+ results”. This thinking doesn’t make any real sense. Having more people (mostly spambots) follow you on Twitter makes you more relevant? I thought relevance had to do with being current? How does Justin Bieber having 16 million followers make his Twitter profile more relevant?
If I want a relevant result, I’m hoping to get something current, and currently there is more action happening in my Google+ stream than any other social site I’m on.
Since there aren’t many critics who seem to realize what the term “relevant” even means, here’s the dictionary definition:
Closely connected or appropriate to the matter at hand.
pertinent – appropriate
[found via Google search]
Regarding Google pushing their product above others
Search plus Your World is an option. Just like searching through images, videos, news, maps, shopping, etc. are all different ways to filter your searches to find what you are looking for. It’s not that much different.
Critics are arguing that Google is pushing other social networks out of search, and that is going to somehow hinder users from finding Twitter profiles. If I wanted to find Justin Bieber’s twitter profile I would go to Twitter to search for him, or I would type “Justin Bieber on Twitter” into Google. I think people are smart enough to know how to find a person, or businesses Twitter profile if that is indeed what they’re looking for.
Here’s the bottom line
Search plus Your World takes social media and word of mouth advertising to the next level. By offering personal social results, companies have the opportunity to capitalize on personal friend recommendations. That, to me, is relevant. Word of mouth, friend recommendations, and personal, trusted connections are what’s going to fuel greater brand discovery, and loyalty.
This is why I am predicting that in two years time Google+ will be the dominant social network of choice. This will change the game. Despite critics who don’t want change, and fail to see past shallow and empty arguments, Google will dominate the social space. You can quote me on that.
What are your thoughts about Search plus Your World? Is it a good change or a bad change? Is Google going too far, or are they just ahead of the game? You can leave a comment by clicking here.