I dig Star Wars. I like Darth Vader. I admire Google. It makes sense. Darth Vader commands respect and you’ll be respected if someone follows your command. This is something that Google is trying now. But will the recent Google+ initiative, Search plus Your World, a rebellion looms across the Web among social platforms and lobbyists.
As Google launches its “social engine” by enhancing Google+ with search-friendly social features, marketers and local business owners are looking forward to how these features will improve businesses and online marketing strategies. But not everyone is glad about this social engine, Twitter recently complained that Google’s new search function will pave the way for real-time content monopoly. Google+ is the first non-search engine with results that appear in Google results and suggestions.
The Rebellion Begins
Twitter’s general counsel Alex Macgillivray has mentioned in statement that “As we’ve seen time and time again, news breaks first on Twitter,” its statement said. “We’re concerned that as a result of Google’s changes, finding this information will be much harder for everyone.” Macgillivray has a point. The funny thing about this is that Twitter halted Google’s spiders from crawling the SERPs. Twitter and Google actually didn’t renew its search-public tweets agreement in July 2011. And now, Twitter is accusing Google of monopolizing search engine results.
Aside from that, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), says that “Google’s changes implicate concerns over whether the company prioritizes its own content when returning search results. Incorporating results from Google+ into ordinary search results allows Google to promote its own social network by leveraging its dominance in the search engine market.”
Every Empire Monetizes Everything. Google is an Empire.
So why is Google acting like a despot? It’s a business and not a public service. It’s a business which has completely dominated the search engine market but some sectors think that it should just be a search engine and that it should stay that way. There lies the conflict.
The most interesting insight I’ve read so far is that Google is favoring its products like Google Maps, Google Images, and now Google+ in the SERPs rather than conducting vertical search. According to Google critic Ben Edelman, every Google product and service is enjoying a favored placement in search results which suggests vertical search favoritism. But hey, Bing does it as well so this is perhaps why Facebook has yet to comment on this issue.
But reality checked, Google+ is not a search engine per se, it just so happens that Google+ is a social platform owned by Google. It wasn’t meant to crawl and search for social content or UGC, but when Google Real-time Search was halted because Twitter didn’t renew an agreement, it was a linchpin for Google to create its own social platform.
Survival of the Fittest
Does Google only intend to make a great product for users? Do other social platforms see it as a deliberate threat? When Facebook and Microsoft came to an agreement to connect the world’s largest social network to BING, nobody ever complained. But when Google made its own social network which shows a lot of promise, everyone from Twitter to lobbyist groups are now complaining. It simply shows that every social network that is backed by the world’s most-used search engine can be a big threat to “engine-less” social platforms. The world is more social than ever, and social platforms could evolve significantly when it’s complemented by a search engine.
To quote Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land, “Google+ is a different issue. It’s not drowning out the others, because the others aren’t even being allowed to swim in the pool.” I couldn’t agree more. Google isn’t all about monopoly. In the first place, Twitter and Facebook were the first ones to say “Hey, you can’t crawl on our pages! Social content is an asset to us!” So why complain if Google is just trying to make the next big step towards Social SEO? Google isn’t a free platform for another social platform to take advantage of. So is Google evil? No. Is Google doing a Darth Vader? Perhaps in a good way in order to bring order across the social web.