Twitter’s displeasure with Google’s “Search plus Your World” may have been the most loudly heard reaction, but tech commentators also took to their blogs to criticise Google’s latest enhancement to personalised search this week.
A major concern was that Google’s “Your World” feature favours Google+ (from which it draws much of its content) over rivals like Facebook and Twitter. As Ben Parr put it: “You can’t browse Google without seeing Google+ everywhere.”
On Search Engine Land, Danny Sullivan’s guide to the changes detailed how Google’s results integrated with Google+, concluding that the new feature “pushes Google+ over relevancy”.
“The fact that they would even consider lowering the quality of search results to push people to Google+, much less do it, indicates that something is seriously wrong at that company,” wrote Mistermix, a self-proclaimed “Googlebot,” from the blog Balloon Juice,
Elsewhere, Steven Levy, the author of In The Plex, called Search plus Your World’s “delivery of social content” unsatisfying and “unbalanced”.
Ars Technica’s Sean Gallagher claimed that the changes were “a clear effort by Google to compete head-on with Facebook’s own social search efforts,” whereas Ben Parr noted that even though Google won’t take users away from Facebook, it does “set up Google+ as the alternative to Facebook, should the social network eventually shoot itself in the foot”.
As mentioned by the FT’s Tim Bradshaw, several commentators, such as MG Siegler, questioned whether the update will create antitrust issues for Google. The writers of Tech Freedom argued that the Feds should not get involved with the matter:
“Do we really want to live in a world where companies like Google have to wait to launch innovative new features until they’ve worked out how to to ensure that their competitors get to participate—on their competitors’ terms?”
Searchblog’s John Battelle, meanwhile, issued a damning indictment of the social search war between Google, Facebook and Twitter: it “sucks for the web”.
“The unwillingness of Facebook and Google to share a public commons when it comes to the intersection of search and social is corrosive to the connective tissue of our shared culture,” he added.
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