Google adds controversial social search integration


Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced this week a new and creative way to include personal social search results by providing a button to toggle social search results from Google+ and integrate them with general results. The approach brought quick condemnation from competitors, however.

Regardless, this appears to be a better approach then some had previously feared. In a post last week on ReadWriteWeb, writer Jon Mitchell worried that Google would put Google+ results linking to a particular post ahead of the actual post itself. That certainly would have been problematic, but yesterday after seeing Google's implementation even Mitchell felt compelled to back pedal on his initial criticism.

Twitter, however, which ended an agreement with Google last summer to include Twitter content in Google search results was not very happy about the change, claiming that Google was putting its own content ahead of competitors like them. In a post on SearchEngineLand, Danny Sullivan reported that Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt denied charges that Google was favoring this content. He claimed it was just following Twitter's request. As Sullivan reported, it's probably more complicated than that, and the war of words is likely to continue for some time.

As for the changes, some are reporting seeing them on Chromebooks, but I've yet to see the changes on my computer. 

In spite of Twitter's complaints, it seems to me that Google has come to a reasonable compromise here. You can incorporate the personal content if you wish, but you can keep it hidden as well. One of the design problems Google faced was finding a way to keep the results from getting too cluttered and this approach certainly achieves that.

That said, the more content one can see the better and if I could see results from Twitter and Facebook too in my social search results that would give me even more information to work with. Time for the kids to stop the playground spats and figure out a way to make this happen, but for now, this is what we have and it's a good start.

For more information:
- see the Google blog post

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