As many tech geeks now know, Google has made changes to its search algorithm to place Google+ results above results from other social networks, even if the results from other networks might be more relevant to search engine consumers. Now, a team of engineers sourced from MySpace, Twitter and Facebook have collaborated on a site called "Focus on the User," a play off the Google+ "Search Plus Your World" campaign which stated that its new "social search" would do more to focus on the user.
Search Plus Your World: Not Effective at Social Search
The aim of "Focus on the User" is to show search consumers how Google, despite its claims to offer relevant search results in an increasingly social world, is more focused on peddling its own product than on offering the data that users might want to find. For instance, when users look for information on a particular movie, Google's new Search Plus Your World might offer links to actors' Google+ pages and movie websites, even though actors' Twitter accounts and movies' Facebook pages might be more popular and desirable for anyone looking for social information.
Google's Foray Into Social Media
Google has been criticized by existing social media organizations like Facebook and Twitter for its foray into the social media world, which claim that the search giant should stick to what it's good at. However, by the same token it is clear that the web is becoming more and more social, with many younger users eschewing the search engine model in favor of the Facebook model, which offers them greater opportunities to connect with friends. Some tech analysts argue that Google sees this trend and is simply trying to get out ahead of it.
Google+ has been a big hit among some consumers, though its popularity nowhere near matches that of Facebook for social communication. The company has been aggressive in reaching out to new members through Gmail, its free email service, and through its iconic search portal.
Other Social Media Companies Fight Back
"Focus on the User" shows the discontent of existing social media companies. Designed to appeal to tech-savvy Internet users who want to optimize their browsing experience, the website's mission states that, "When Google's engineers...focus purely on relevancy; [they] get it right." Engineers call Focus a "bookmarklet," which can be accessed like a bookmark from any Google+ search result. When accessed, engineers argue, Focus provides a more equitable social search result based on relevancy rather than Google brand loyalty.
Engineers from the big three social media companies believe that Google+ is not as relevant a social application as Facebook, Myspace or Twitter and should therefore not receive as much attention from Google's search tools, which became popular in large part due to their ability to list the most relevant results from search queries within the first few pages. They argue that Google is doing its brand a disservice with Google+ search by sacrificing objective relevancy in an attempt to grow its fledgling social network.
Why Do We Care
Of course, most of this doesn't seem all that relevant to people who aren't that passionate about online marketing. We use Google for searching and we use Facebook for keeping in touch with friends. We use Twitter for tweeting, whatever that is, and we use MySpace for listening to Indie bands and looking at pictures of ourselves from five years ago.
However, engineers are using "Focus on the User" to argue that if Google loses sight of its core mission, to provide relevant search results to consumers, then we will stop trusting Google with our search results. This could prove fatal to the company at the forefront of Internet technology. However, if Google+ grows as the company expects, then its results will be more relevant in the future. Only time will tell which way the scales tip for the tech giant and how the Internet will evolve as a result.
This guest post was written by Harrison L., who is a social media marketing enthusiast who loves to network with people interested in growing bonsai starter trees and indoor plants. He hopes to grow a strong community for his bonsai tree blog in the bonsai tree community through various online channels.
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