“Ask On Google+” Links Appearing In Google’s Search Results

The invasion of Google+ into Google’s search results continue. The latest Google+ification? Now Google’s encouraging people at the end of its search listings if they “Want to ask your friends about” what they were Googling.

Want To Ask Your Friends?

Tom Critchlow tipped me off to spotting this in his search results. I checked, and I found the same thing happening for me:

You can see that I’ve done a search for “sopa,” and at the bottom of the results, I’m prompted:

Want to ask your friends about sopa? Ask on Google+

While I see this, some of my other Search Engine Land editors do not. So, it might not be happening to everyone. It also doesn’t happen if you’re signed out of Google.

Good Idea, But Not For Every Query

The feature is helpful, in that I’ve written before that people do turn to their social networks to get questions answered. It makes huge amounts of sense to provide this type of prompt, especially if a search engine can detect that someone is having particular difficulty with a question.

However, there’s no particular intelligence going on behind this prompt. It shows up for every search, which means you can have lots of fun with it. For example:

Somehow, I think if I ask my friends on Google Plus, “How do I search on Google,” they’ll laugh at me. This is, by the way, an actual popular search that people do. If you don’t know how to search on Google, or want to search better, see our How To Use Google To Search page.

Here’s another fun one:

Given the sometimes fanboy nature of Google Plus, I’m pretty sure if I ask, “How do I share a link on Facebook,” I’ll be told to go back to Facebook.

This was my favorite:

How do I make friends on Google Plus? “Ask on Google+,” I’m encouraged!

Asking Your Question

If you do click on the “Ask on Google+” link, a little overlay window appears:

That’s filled with the text of what you want to ask, prefaced by this:

Hi there! I have a question about….

For fun, you can do this search on Google+ to see who is actually asking questions using this standard greeting (so far, not many people).

After you post the question, it appears at the top of your Google+ stream and is shared with whomever you indicated:

Helpful, But Feels Like More Google+ Intruder

Like I said, it is a useful feature for any search engine to offer, perhaps long overdue. But some more intelligence behind when this prompt it appears would be useful. And it still comes across as yet another way that Google+ is injecting itself into Google’s search results.

I joked today that seeing how Google+ keeps creeping into Google’s search results makes me want to change the lyrics of Bedroom Intruder to begin, ”It’s climbin’ in your Google, it’s snatching up your results….”

Now go watch Bedroom Intruder and laugh:

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Related Topics: Channel: Social | Google: Google+ | Google: Web Search | Top News

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About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



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  • davep

    Sorry to disagree, but it’s not really a feature is it? Useful or otherwise – it is just yet another link to a Google property on what’s supposed to be a page full of search results garnered from the Internet.

    I think most people have the presence of mind to ask their friends about something if they want to… and let’s be honest, if they are going to ask them it’s petty unlikely it will be on Google+ unless 1) they work at Google 2) they are a search marketer 3) they’re the kind of people who sign up for EVERYTHING.

    Showing how broadly this is applied is fun, but also shows how rushed this feature is.

  • http://fjpoblam F.J.

    I wonder what search would yield, “Want to ask your friends on Google+ what you should ask your friends on Google+?”

  • http://www.jasonbaudendistel.com/blog.html Jason Baudendistel

    I love this feature and the bonus video is a nice touch too ;)

  • http://seo-website-designer.com Tony

    The idea would be more useful if it went to a real Q&A system that lets people monitor, vote on and answer questions.

    It could be worth monitoring “Hi there! I have a question about” + keyword as a new way of outreach. I’ve just saved the search.

  • TimmyTime

    Yay! One more way to send less traffic to the sites Google scraps to create their mfa.

    By end of 2012 no site will get any traffic if all goes to plan.

  • Anil

    How funny, if I someone is logged into Google, Analytics doesn’t show relevant data and If one is not, he/she cannot “ask on Google+”… Is Google trying to manipulate search results to create a suspense or a catch-22 situation in search engine metrics…! Will someone tell me how this will impact us webmasters who are finicky about traffic…?

  • http://europeforvisitors.com Durant Imboden

    I started seeing the ad (oops, link) today and wondered if I’d been missing it.

    I wouldn’t miss it if it went away tomorrow.

  • http://www.greenpepperstudios.com James Dunn

    Spamming their own results with dynamically generated links to thin pages without answers, looks like Google is starting to model their business after Ask.com. At least Ask tries to cover it up whenever they get caught doing arbitrage.

  • Chas

    Ask on Google+ Is Flurbit, developed by the founder of Gigablast, actually a useful feature compared to all these lame gimmicks being rolled out by Google, Facebook and Twitter?

  • ThomasThatsMe

    #1. Nice! A Quora Killer! Who’s up next?

    #2. Unless the government slams Google OR or another search engine starts really growing, Google will single handedly kill the content startup market and might kill some other quality sites that have been around for years. If you don’t 100% see that then you aren’t seeing things clearly. Even with all of the negative press they received with the Google+ification, etc last week, the very next week they come out with this. They don’t care if they look shady or if it looks like they are abusing their power for their own competitive benefit. They are on an attack and if some small businesses are casualties so be it. How great for the US economy! The only sector that is growing right now(tech) being slammed by a $200 Billion Market Cap gorilla.

    #3. I think what bothers me most about this are the lies that were told. From the beginning you knew Microsoft was shifty as they stole Windows, but Google claimed they were different. “Do No Evil” and “it is all about relevancy” and the “goal of Google is to be a portal where it sends traffic to best possible place.” You trusted Google. People began to count on that and never thought that Google could ever become a competitor. But all of the sudden. Wham! That is why there is such a huge backlash. So many people depend on Google and they trusted they would do what is right.

    #4. I switched to Bing 4.5 months ago and like their results better. Especially now that there is so much extra junk in Google. I urge everyone to try different search engines as Google has become more and more irrelevant. If you were smart you would do the same.

  • http://www.daronet.com D.N.

    Hey thanks man for the useful post!
    I have just opened a Google +1 account for my company, and things are going pretty well however I see there are limited functionality when opening a page in google +1 in contrary to a user profile. I.e I can’t use the search friends via email when on page in Google +

    Have any tips how to go around this?

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