In yet another revolutionary move, Google has announced what it has dubbed Search Plus Your World! This is indeed a radical transformation as Google is pushing its search results to be more personal.
I'm sure you have heard of this update from Google. Well, what I want to do here is to take a look at Search plus Your World based on some of the issues arising from the update and then give a word or two of my opinion.
Search plus Your World Announced
Making the announcement on Tuesday 10th January, 2012 Amit Singhal said on the Google Official blog:
“Google Search has always been about finding the best results for you. Sometimes that means results from the public web, but sometimes it means your personal content or things shared with you by people you care about. These wonderful people and this rich personal content is currently missing from your search experience. Search is still limited to a universe of webpages created publicly, mostly by people you’ve never met. Today, we’re changing that by bringing your world, rich with people and information, into search.”
That is really an interesting way to put it. All in all what Google has just done is to combine personalized results which was first introduced in June 2005 and has gone through a couple of updates and social search results which have been since October 2009. These two seperate algorithms that have been improved over the years have now become one. Danny Sullivan writing at SearchEngineLand.com quoted Amit Singhal to have said:
“The social search algorithm, and the personal search algorithm, and the personalized search algorithm are actually one algorithm now, and we are merging it in a way that is very pleasant and useful.”
But To What Use Is Google Search Plus Your World?
As a new addition to the many innovative ways Google has been fine-tuning search results, one will want to ask why Search Plus Your World?
So far, I think Google is only trying to enhance the ever growing social nature of the internet. This is clear from the official post:
“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.”
But will this really help us better when searching for information on Google.com? Right now, we not fully appreciate that until we put it to full use. However, there are already issues with Facebook and Twitter, unarguably two of the biggest social media sites with the largest database of user content. Search plus Your World does not include results from these two social media giants.
My Opinion: It is rational to reason that if Google really want to make search results social and personal then the duo of Facebook and Twitter must be considered. But do we blame Google if these social media sites decide to restrict Google from crawling their databases?I don't think Google should be blamed.
Here's what Danny Sullivan reported Amit Singhal as saying:
“Facebook and Twitter and other services, basically, their terms of service don’t allow us to crawl them deeply and store things. Google+ is the only [network] that provides such a persistent service. Of course, going forward, if others were willing to change, we’d look at designing things to see how it would work.”
Is Google Favoring Its Own Content?
I must say this is one area where I've suspected Google of playing foul since the launch of Google+. When Google Authorship was announced and every site or blog desiring to implement the update was required to provide a link back to Google+, I suspected that Google was only systematically pushing the social media platform up on the search results.
However, the accusations that Google is favoring its own content over other social media sites was rebuffed by Google's Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt.
In a response to a statement by Twitter a few hours after the announcement of Search plus Your World, which read in part:
“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.”
Google issued its own statement, through a post on Google+ saying:
“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.”
My Opinion: As a big fan of Google I truly believe that Google is doing more to improve the way we found information on the internet and for this, the other social media sites should find ways of working with it instead of the rivalry we have seen for some time now. If however they don't want to work with Google then they should find ways of building their own search engines to compete with Google!
Well, as usual I will be glad to hear from you. What do you think of Search plus Your World? Do you think Google is justified in ignoring Facebook and Twitter with such a major update as this?
Meanwhile what this video introducing Search plus Your World. Do you see us doing all of these with Google very soon?
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Z9TTBxarbs?rel=0]Note: Though Search plus Your World is now live, it is not everyone that will see it until it fully launches over the next few days. It’s only for those signed-in to Google.com and searching in English.