Where Google Search Plus Your World Goes Wrong / by Chel Wolverton


Remember the days of searching places like Yahoo to find the best results that fit?  I can remember painfully clicking link after link to find the relevant search results on my search topic.  Me and the back button?  We considered getting engaged. I came across a Search Engine Land experiment on how the new Google Search plus Your World works. Google has done some pretty unremarkable things in the past (Hello turning off sharing in Google Reader!). The one thing they've always excelled at are their efforts to try and improve search results.  For example, Panda was a huge move and it removed some of the most irrelevant sites from the top search results pool (spam, splogs).

Google's Violation of their Philosophy

With the introduction of Google Search+, it's clear that they are moving away from their core values.   Not to mention they are drawing the attention of the FTC and complaints of anti-trust violations.  It isn't simply that they aren't indexing other social networks, but it's how they are changing search results in a way that does not benefit their users.

The perfect search engine,...would understand exactly what you mean and give back exactly what you want.” - Larry Page

Going by their own standards, Google is no longer the perfect search engine and are taking steps away from that goal. If I'm looking for something or someone online, Google+ doesn't strike me as the best place to find them.  I'd rather have the place most relevant based on a variety of factors.

When I want Google+ results specifically, I'll search for them, yes?

Google's core philosophy also mentions "Focus on the user and all else will follow."  I don't believe that Google is focused on the user right now.  Danny Sullivan seems to agree if I'm reading his experiment with Google Search+ (linked above)correctly. It's about goals, yes, namely their goal to make Google+ a success.  Not their user's goals in searching for relevant results.

Danny notes:

Google’s job as a search engine is to direct searchers to the most relevant information on the web, not just to information that Google may have an interest in.

All of this has had the compelling effect of making me change my search habits and engine.  I want a search engine that will help me find what I'm looking for, not one that will show me what it thinks is relevant to what I am looking for.

Can Google Marry Search and Social Successfully?

Maybe they can, but they certainly aren't winning any battles by damaging one of the tools that users love them for.

"It’s best to do one thing really, really well."

Yes, yes it is; now perhaps you can get back to doing that?  This change takes them beyond search and into social.  For those of you keeping score at home, that's two things, not one.

Don't get me wrong there are some great things about Google+ and I love interacting there. It's not about hating their social network. I very much hope that Google can take a step back from this and understand the mistake that they've made with forcing this change.  If nothing else, Buzz should have taught them not to shove things down people's throats.

For me, I will be experimenting with different search engines for a while.  Until search shows me what I'm looking for minus the favoritism of Google+ search results, I think it's best we took a break from each other.

If you aren't a fan of this change, the best thing you can do to send a sign to the executives at Google is to turn off the new search or use a different search engine.

How about you?  If you have the new search plus, do you love it?  Hate it?  Why?