If you read our blog, you will have noticed an article we posted last week which explained the Google Search Plus Your World update. If you haven’t read it yet you can access it here: Google’s Search Plus Your World Update and How it Affects You
In the article I discussed how Google has used the update to personalize search for its users. Users will receive recommendations based on their activity and behavior in the search engines. For businesses, it represents a huge benefit to those who have Google+ profiles because with the update, Google showcases the top 3 Google+ profiles related to a search query.
Facebook and Twitter were not happy about the update since it excluded many other social profiles besides Google+. Google’s normal algorithm produces Facebook and Twitter profiles liberally on the first page so why should the new update include anything less?
In response to the update, Facebook released the bookmarklet “Focus on the User”. A bookmarklet is a snippet of code that adds a temporary functionality to a web browser. Actually, the code was a collaborative effort created by engineers at Facebook, Twitter and MySpace with consultation from other social networking companies to display the highest ranked social content without any Google+ bias.
The tool replaces the results on the right side of the browser page that are displayed when the Search Plus Your World update is used. With Google’s results, the sidebar will show the top three Google+ profiles related to your keyword search. For example, when I typed in the term “video games” into the search query box, I got these 3 Google+ profiles:
I then installed the Focus on the User bookmarklet and saw these results in place of the above 3:
I find it interesting that the social profiles in the latter example (Twitter) enjoy more engagement than the former Google+ profiles, but they were featured anyways. For example, IGN’s Google+ profile looks like this:
IGN’s Twitter profile shows this:
The difference in followers is evident and IGN’s Twitter profile is much more popular than its Google+ profile. For these reasons, social networks banded together to create this bookmarklet to show that Google may be displaying some bias and that users deserve the most relevant social results.
The bookmarklet when installed is titled “Don’t be Evil” which is a direct attack at Google for its bias:
Search Plus Your World Updates
Another element that is affected is the Google+ suggestions dropdown menu. When you type in a word into Google’s search query under personalized search, Google attempts to autocomplete your query. The Google+ profiles will also show in this dropdown as well.
Finally, under the Google Search Plus Your World update, searches for brand names reveal the brands’ Google+ pages front and center in the top 10 results.
The Focus on the User bookmarklet modifies the results to remove Google’s bias from these updates as well.
What this Means for You
Besides the enjoyment of watching the somewhat senseless banter of the Google vs. Facebook battle, businesses should continue to keep their social profiles strong and if they haven’t already, start a Google+ profile. Yes, Facebook and Twitter will fight back, but Google is still very much in charge.