2012 started with a bang for several social-network giants—especially those of the 140-character variety, which recently had their feathers ruffled by a certain search giant. Social positioning in 2012 has begun among the big three—Facebook, Twitter, and now Google+—with the latter two squaring up for the first of what is sure to be numerous public showdowns.
On Tuesday, Google announced the latest changes to its super-secret-ghost-like search algorithm. Riding the momentum of its social-media network, Google+, Google released the “Google Plus Your World” update. Basically, the update personalizes your Google search results based on its (Google) social network. If you have a Google profile and you’ve searched on Google recently, then you may have noticed a more personalized result based on your profile.
Google continues to attempt to personalize the search process by incorporating its own social network into search results, thus shunning the other two prominent social-media giants when it comes to search results.
Some see this as another attempt by the search giant to strong-arm its users into what it deems necessary and right for search on the web.
Insert Western showdown music here.
The “Google Plus Your World” update has really ticked off the folks over at Twitter. Twitter, as you’re probably aware, has become the outlet for breaking news, making everyone with a computer or smartphone a “pop journalist.” Twitter has become the source for real-time information.
“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.” (Read Twitter’s full statement here. Courtesy of TechCrunch.)1
After reading that statement, you can see why this latest update has ruffled a few feathers over at Twitter. Prior to the update,
Twitter accounts and tweets about specific events would show up as real-time search results on Google. After the “Google Plus Your World” update, search results will be personalized based on people’s Google profiles, ultimately ranking those same events posted by Google+ users instead of the 140-character updates.
Now you can sympathize with our blue-feathered friends at Twitter.
But before jumping on the Twitter bandwagon and joining the thousands bashing Google, you might want to know that Twitter’s relationship with Google used to be pretty rosy. And profitable. Google and Twitter had a partnership (which ended in July 2011 and was not renewed by Twitter) that helped Twitter show up prominently in real-time Google search results, thus guiding Twitter to become the established news source it is and prominently claims to be.
As Twitter publically calls foul, Google has responded by stating that it is simply following the “rel=nofollow” rules set forth by Twitter.2 Basically, Google is stating that Twitter “removed itself from search” by not renewing the agreement.
It seems the fun has just begun as news spreads through the Twitterverse and across the web of the possibility of an antitrust case gaining steam, and has turned this seemingly harmless “update” into an all-out social-media showdown.
You may be asking yourself where Facebook stands amidst this dustup. They’ve stayed quiet, for now. But with the quiet release of Facebook news-feed ads, ultimately stepping on Google’s advertising toes, that story is surely only beginning.
In the meantime, enjoy Twitter for its breaking news and 140-character blurbs, enjoy Facebook for its updates, and continue to search on Google. In the end, there’s room for everyone—unless, of course, you’re Google, Twitter, or Facebook.
Stay tuned as we monitor these developments.