The question I am pondering today is whether Twitters latest attack on Google “Don’t be evil” (a reference to one of Google’s early mottoes) will actually backfire on them… Who is really getting upset about this other than Twitter, Facebook, etc? You? Me? Joe Blogs? I don’t think so. In fact many, including me see Google+ as another opportunity in the sea of digital media. Am I bothered that when someone googles ‘Graham Knowles‘ that my Google+ page comes within the first half of the first page?!?!? Errrrr…
Lets face it this is not quite as simple as Google’s competitors would like us to believe. In the latest war of Social Media tantrums Facebook, Twitter and MySpace have created a new web tool to direct users’ attention to what it considers are biased search results from Google. hmmm were they biased when, because of a private commercial agreement between these companies, search results would first bring up these companies results above others? The browser add-on, which only works for Firefox users, is called ‘Don’t be evil’ (a reference to one of Google’s early mottoes), and has been created in an attempt to stop the search giant from promoting its own social network, Google+, to the top of people’s web searches.
We the consumers are not quite as dumb as we are being treated and lets face it most consumers couldn’t care less about this little tiff. We also don’t like hypocrisy, have you noticed Facebook promoting it’s own services, within it’s own arena?…noooo of course not! So what is wrong with Google announcing a search update called ‘Search Plus Your World’, which means users will see more links to Google+ when they search the web, including in part of the results page usually set aside for advertising? It’s their arena after all and they are not excluding other results. They never pretended to be anything other than Google the brand, the business, they never claim to be “The Global Independent Information Authority” (just made that up!).
So, do Twitter and the other social media giants really have a good point or do they just look like a bunch of foot stamping multi billion dollar babies?!?
Here’s some more info from recent press coverage:
It is the latest example of Google promoting its secondary services via search, a practice currently under investigation by European competition authorities for alleged monopoly abuses.
“You can find relevant Google+ posts from friends talking about an amazing trip they just took, whether they’ve shared privately with you or publicly,” Google said in a blog post.
“Starting today, if you search for a topic like [music] or [baseball], you might see prominent people who frequently discuss this topic on Google+ appearing on the right-hand side of the results page.”
The update is only live in the US at the moment. However, engineers from Twitter, Facebook and MySpace, teamed up over the weekend to work with some developers from Firefox, to create the ‘Don’t be evil’ browser add-on, which will negate the effects of the latest Google update.
The open-source piece of software can be downloaded fromfocusontheuser.org. The site provides examples of search results using the tool.
Google was unavailable for comment.
Twitter followed Macgillivray’s comments earlier this month with an official statement complaining that “Your World” would make it harder for web users to find relevant tweets.
“For years, people have relied on Google to deliver the most relevant results anytime they wanted to find something on the Internet,” it said.
“Often, they want to know more about world events and breaking news. Twitter has emerged as a vital source of this real-time information, with more than 100 million users sending 250 million Tweets every day on virtually every topic. As we’ve seen time and time again, news breaks first on Twitter; as a result, Twitter accounts and Tweets are often the most relevant results.
“We’re concerned that as a result of Google’s changes, finding this information will be much harder for everyone. We think that’s bad for people, publishers, news organizations and Twitter users.”
Google responded via Google+, entering into an extraordinary public argument with Twitter.
It said it was “a bit surprised by Twitter’s comments about search plus Your World, because they chose not to renew their agreement with us last summer”.
The retaliation referred to Twitter’s refusal to allow Google to fully index tweets because it would agree to its terms. In October, its chief executive,Dick Costolo, told The Telegraph “we just can’t agree on what the appropriate value exchange is”.
Twitter does have a deal with Microsoft to allow Bing, Google’s biggest search engine rival, to index tweets.