Has Google Finally Succumbed To The Dark Side?
Google launched Search Plus Your World (SPYW) recently offering integration of the usual search results with relevant social media. That is as long as that social media comes Google+. Obviously, this has caused a stir in the social online world and Facebook and Twitter have both publicly blasted Google's new search service for not just preference of Google+ in search results but the absence of equally authoritative pages from competing social sites. Giving Google+ results such a prominent display above organic social results has caused much controversy for Google with other calling for anti-trust laws to be considered.
Google's slogan for it's code of conduct is “don't be evil”. A unusual corporate motto but explained by Google to be a necessary factor in their own business ideology. Google even encourages employees to report possible violations without fear of retaliation. However, surely much laughter has occurred at the next line they direct to their investors, “Yes, it's about providing our users unbiased access to information, ...” since they give monopoly placement on the most used search engine to their own social networking service.
Google falls back to capitalism values when questioned about the controversy and says that it is not about providing equal accessibility but providing the best services available to users. Perhaps it is easy for Google to consider it's own social network as superior to Facebook and Twitter but the fact is Google+ just hasn't caught on as fast as expected. With only about 6 months of being open to the public, lots of people are already calling Google+ a failure with a user base in decline. Google+ can do well if it offers something unique and widely sought after that users can't find on Facebook and other social networks.
In theory, because of Google's collection of personal information and laser targeting of demographics from search engine queries, Google+ could become a seamless way of sharing media socially. This method of sharing would be quite a bit more personal that adding a plus one to a site while surfing. Search sharing could share what you do online and certainly would be superior in many respects to the manual sharing on Facebook and Twitter. Of course, many users are hesitant to tie their search usage to their social identity even though they passively share their personal information with Google already.
Oddly enough, Google's new social search service creates the acronym, SPYW, clearly spelling out the word “spy” and “w”. Whether of not this is a complete coincidence or a blatantly obvious gesture, tying social results to your real identity involves knowing quite a bit of information about you. Conspiracy theories aside, Search Plus Your World offers to extend sharing in your Google+ circle to your usual search engine results. It is an exciting service that has an immense amount of room to grow and develop into a unique product.