Google SPYW: Is Rome Burning?

As discussed earlier, Google has begun blending and promoting their Google+ social network skewed results in their traditionally neutral search results, and doing so by default.

This favoritism and skewing of results is garnering tons of negative opinion pieces and articles around the web, such as this excellent overview on VentureBeat.com. It is quite easy for anyone to perform a search using Google and see how results favor Google+ pages and personalities over the much more relevant and frequently used pages or accounts using Twitter and Facebook.

We understand Google’s belief that they must somehow recreate and utilize a similar human network of web indexers such as their potential competitors seem to have achieved using Facebook ‘likes’ or Re-tweets. However, they do seem to be betting the farm with this decision.

It must be really tough making these kind of decisions in a company and industry that didn’t even exist more than a decade ago, give or take a few years. There aren’t any examples or historic events that they can consider when faced with these choices.

Or are there? Why are Search professionals so up in arms about this decision? Shouldn’t Google promote their own properties? Shouldn’t all companies and industries do so?

Turns out, these examples do exist and have been tested time and time again in their very own industry. Because Google is in the Advertising and Publication industry, the same as Sports Illustrated or Style or the New York Times. The content of search results are the articles and Adwords or Adsense are their Ads. Pure and simple.

And this decision? It’s the same one any Publication has faced and turned away from, or likely didn’t survive. Editors and Publishers both understand that the content must bring the consumers and the Ads will follow. When Publications begin promoting their Advertisers as news, it seldom works for long. Content consumers quickly deduce paid infomercials, whether obviously stated or not.

So, Google is breaking the oldest Publication law in the books: Editorial favoritism toward advertisers over unbiased or more relevant information. A huge no-no. Will they succeed and survive? Only time will tell.

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Google Search Risks Relevancy to promote Google+

Google Search is rolling out “Search Plus Your World”. Basically, they are officially blending in your personal content and related friends’ content into your search results on Google.com. But, even if you aren’t logged into Google+, they are promoting Google+ business and brand pages beyond the obvious relevancy they deserve, especially compared to the content they already index from Twitter and Facebook. Ignoring the impact of unveiling to you how much personal data they have, this decision clearly shows them favoring their properties, content and brand products over the relevancy of the search results.

This means that you can no longer rely on Google as your only search engine. (You shouldn’t anyway, of course). Rome has started burning.

Danny Sullivan, renowned Search Engine Land Editor, has a well written article with annotated screenshots of his initial research. See what you think and let us know if you think Google’s “Search Plus Your World” or SPYW, spys deep enough into Twitter or Facebook. Or whether it spys too deep everywhere.