Facebook, Twitter Watch Google Search Plus Your World With Great Interest
For Google, its move into providing social network searching came almost too late as the search giant, who most know as the engine of choice if you are looking up serious data, lost eight years to Facebook, the de facto leader in social networking overkill and overposting (it took Facebook a while to tighten up its security features as it apparently believed that people wanted all the stuff that was being posted). "Search Plus Your World" which looks at and promotes Google social networking information and sites (quite naturally), is an outgrowth of Google's number one position of as the search engine of choice.
Let's face it, they are the two titans of the social networking and information searching world so when they come up against each other, it's bound to cause friction and, in the case of Twitter, lots of upset. Twitter issued a statement that slammed the new service as forcing people to look at Google data and worried that its news postings would be buried in the barrage of information that people would likely face from a revitalized Google search/social engine.
This isn't the first try Google has had at social networking and searching. It encouraged people to try its Buzz service with little success, while it also notes - answering Twitter's criticism - that it already includes Twitter information in searches and it also encourages Flickr posting as well.
It would dearly love, apparently, to have access to Facebook's many users and posts every day, but that isn't likely to happen in this lifetime or in any lifetime soon as Facebook has denied Google access to the information generated on its social networking site. Indeed, one could argue that it is Facebook that is violating anti-trust laws by keeping Google from having access to information that could strengthen Google's offerings.
Facebook believes it is in the right on this, especially as it is reportedly within weeks of its initial IPO that is likely to make its founders and others on the staff millionaires overnight, or so they hope. (It has happened before in the Apple world and in the Microsoft world, so who is to say that it won't happen here?) It's just that the social networking-linking world could prove to be more fickle than Facebook believes it is. No one really knows.
Indeed, Amit Singhal, a Google fellow and leader of the new "Search Plus" effort, says that most of the information that people receive about others is written by people unknown to searchers and that most searchers would like to know who is writing about them. He calls this type of searching the "Faceless Web." "Search Plus" would make things much more personal to you.
He is echoed by industry experts and observers who note that users wants more information about who is writing and posting information about them online. It only makes sense. The key here, though, all agree is the Google-centric stance of "Search Plus". Who can blame them, though, as Facebook has made all but impossible for the various services to share their data and now Twitter and other neutral observers are raising their own anti-trust concerns. It seems no one is looking at Facebook in the same manner as it sits atop the hill looking out upon its vast sea of users, assuming, apparently, that they are still the only game in town. If they are, then, how can you explain the recent success of Linked-In and others. It's a volatile field that no one truly owns just yet and may never.
Google's product is good and it offers built-in protections that took years for Facebook to offer. It shows that at least it knows how to do things right, when it sets its corporate mind to it.
How will this turn out? Only time will tell; only time will tell.