• Winooski

    Cheers for making the Google+-to-YouTube comparison. That does a good job of helping us understand how Google’s promotion of Google+ within Search results is an unprecedented misstep for the company (and this on the heels of Google’s recent disservice to publishers by denying them the organic search query keywords of logged-in users).

    It’s almost like Google is daring the government to step up any antitrust investigations. Google’s competitors certainly aren’t going to miss the opportunity to point out its increasingly monopolistic behavior.

  • http://calumshepherd.net/blog/ Calum Shepherd

    Completely agree with this and the above comment. I really feel like the update is more “Your World plus Search” and less “Search plus Your World”. My immediate world and that of Google+ is now so dominating, quality results appears to be going missing. I wrote a little about this on my blog, which might be of further interest. goo.gl/cWOZR

    With this said, if they do begin to open up this new landscape a little further, the ability to search either personalised results based upon recommendation, or results based upon traditional relevance and authority, then it can only be a good thing!

  • Renk

    So does Google’s Search plus Your World show results from Orkut too?

  • http://europeforvisitors.com Durant Imboden

    Danny, you’ve got a point, but the “favoritism” issue is likely to be academic for most searches–and for most searchers, who don’t use Google+.

    As for me, I’m just glad that the Google.com SERPs have a button that lets me hide Google+ results. And I’m happy that Facebook and Twitter aren’t playing nice with Google, since the cure for clutter isn’t even more clutter.

  • http://www.benedelman.org Ben Edelman

    I like the comparison to Google’s treatment of YouTube and Google Video. But let’s look at where that leads us.

    http://blog.agrawals.org/2011/09/22/google-and-antitrust-how-google-favors-its-own-products/ shows how Google favors a YouTube result — giving the YouTube result a prominent thumbnail, while the exact same video on another site (indeed, on the official, authoritative site of the publisher who invested the effort to make the video) gets no thumbnail. Doesn’t look like Google is giving the other video site equal treatment.

    Many folks here recall the multi-year period when merchants using Google Checkout enjoyed shopping cart icons adjacent to their AdWords links. Merchants who used other streamlined checkout services (like Paypal) got no such benefit.

    Fact is, Google has repeatedly used its power over search to leverage its other services. Google has used tying to benefit its vertical search services (which Danny thinks is fine). Google has also used tying to benefit its non-search services, like its video hosting service, its checkout service, and now its social service. Whether we should be concerned when Google uses tying to benefit vertical search is something Danny and I can disagree about. But if folks agree that Google’s favored placement of Google Plus is a problem, I think my other examples should be of concern also. This probably really is bigger than Google Plus.

  • http://motelsupplies.blogspot.com/ P.S.P.

    Well Google created their + social network, so cannot Facebook and Twitter do similar? – i.e create their own search engines, or partner with a search/platform provider? G takes on (presumably) F@T – hence reverse – F@T take on G. Imagine if Google Search went “offline” (i.e. vanished) for a week, would it be easy for users to find relevant items from within (or externally) Facebook or Twitter? If not…then make it so, by creating and promoting their own engines…

  • cromwellian

    I don’t get the “favor vertical search” argument. A search engine is supposed to search stuff. Consumers don’t care where it comes from — web links, government databases, the library of congress, NASDAQ. I come to a Text Entry Box, with a flashing cursor, and I want to ask a question, and get an answer, ultimately, just like on Star Trek.

    The idea that somehow searching financial data, or weather, or housing, movie reviews, or airline data is somehow something wholly different and “shalt not be integrated into 10-blue-link-web-search” is ludicrous.

    Apple’s Siri really shows what the end user wants: ask a question, consult a battery of vertical services, and respond with answers. Universal Search.

    Trying to wall off these databases from one another and demand that Google be restricted to only “web search” is bad for end users. Knowledge is multiplicative, and combining databases gives you even more signals to use.

    On the social box thingy, I basically agree that Google should show results from other networks, just like when you search for “GOOG” it will show Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft finance site links. But I don’t really believe that Google should have to pay blogging sites that publish public data (which twitter is) for the rights to index their data. That destroys the whole value proposition of the open web, if sites start demanding search engines pay them for the right to index, when in fact, they derive tremendous value from the indexing.

  • http://seoegghead.com/blog/ S.E.

    One Google misstep that has not gotten a lot of attention is the whole Google Related thing. When people came out with a CSS-only ‘disable-switch,’ Google deliberately made doing so more difficult.

    http://harrybailey.com/2011/08/hide-google-related-bar-on-your-website-with-css/
    (css no longer works, with update similar to below)

    http://www.seoegghead.com/blog/google/how-to-disable-google-related-with-jquery-p859.html
    (requires JavaScript+jQuery)

    In general, this is a new pattern for Google. I question the legality, or at least the ethics of injecting competitor content within your web page’s DOM/content.

    As for what cromwellian said, actually, it’s not clear whether, de jure, Google has a right to index any copyrighted content. De facto it has become OK, but the idea that you have to opt out rather than opt in is not the way copyright law was ever conceived. Not sure why you’re bringing this up, but most search engines are on shaky legal ground. I’m not sure if an inverted index is fair use, but the cache link for sure runs afoul of many interpretations of copyright law.

  • http://nocturnetales.com N.T.

    Search Plus Your World seems to be more like Up Yours than anything else.

  • Jan Larsson

    Why cant we have a simple predictable search engine for the web?

    All this personalized social stuff is flawed thinking. Unless you know my context, why I make the search, you cant filter the results. Am I searching just for me? For a family event? Some other group activity? Is the search part of my work preparing a report (at home) for the next morning or is it for planning a private event?

    And so on … Google doesnt know this. And any tampering Google does with my search results makes them irrelevant.

    And on top of this Google Search now means search within googles own closed walled garden. I didnt know about the personalization going on – this debate made it clear to me I have find a better search engine.

  • FMJohnson

    The Joy of Tech has a great cartoon on this subject:

    Larry Page visits his younger self…
    http://www.geekculture.com/joyoftech/joyarchives/1639.html

  • http://profile.johnabell.com John C Abell

    Wouldn’t your YouTube analogy be stronger if other social networks didn’t specifically prevent being indexed by Google Search? All video wants to bubble up in Google, but Facebook does not. Don’t you think Google would be agnostic — perhaps even favor FB as it did Twitter in Real-time search — if FB didn’t prevent this? If so, should Google be penalized (penalize itself) because the best source of social graf data has itself opted out of the web?

  • http://www.turtledove.com/ kenhoward

    I am looking at these changes to Google Search as two different things.

    1. People now have an option of using “Social Search” within Google
    2. You can exclude your social graph by using the “World Search”

    I for one am enjoying the “Social Search” at the moment because I can easily find articles that were shared by people in my circles even if I haven’t accessed Google+ in weeks(which is the case). There’s a lot of value in this type of search, but it’s not for everyone and should not be used for every search(school research papers, religion, politics, daily news, etc.).

  • Simon Temple

    Mainstream press haven’t picked up on this yet, but there’s an arbitrage game also at play.

    See: http://exploreto.tumblr.com/post/15882139433/what-a-year-so-far-in-2012-for-google

    The example given in the post above, queries for brand searches, (“New York Times” is the example cited) with will feed those queries back to G+ via the SERPs. As a large brand you’ll be damned if you do and damned if you don’t push your content on G+.

    Laughable as aggregators were the target of engineers in the Panda update. That is, sites that offer no unique value, (But aggregate content). Well, there’s no value in arbitraging other peoples content except to Google… and in this example, it appears to be OK.

  • http://mitra.id.au/che Frances Monro

    Don’t like Google search results (or spammy ads)? Just click somewhere else!

  • Kevin Spence

    I know I’m the minority, but I find the idea of searching private things within Google to be a pretty cool idea.

    I’m a webmaster yes, but on a personal level I wish I could search my bookmarks, gmail, and google docs from a universal search bar.

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  • Víctor Hugo Benítez

    Don’t like google? Use another think. Not good enough for you? Stop whining!