This week, Google introduced an initiative called Search Plus Your World, which will combine standard search results with items culled from Google+ and photo-sharing sites such as Picasa. The idea, generally speaking, is to expand the reach of Google, from regular ol' websites to the "social web" – where most Internet users operate today.
Search Plus Your World, expected to hit many computers today, is controlled via a toggle switch. Turn it on and search results will change based on your friend's tastes. Switch it off to return to the standard Google view. But that's not quite enough for Twitter, which today issued a strongly-worded statement about Search Plus Your World, expressing concern that Twitter results would be harder to find under the new system.
"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," the statement read. "We're concerned that as a result of Google's changes, finding this information will be much harder for everyone. We think that's bad for people, publishers, news organizations and Twitter users."
So is Twitter right to be worried? Hard to say – we haven't yet had a chance to try out the new search feature.
Google, Shankland writes, "can change how it presents search results derived from social services. It can change what services it chooses to listen to. It can offer different actions that people can take when seeing social information. It can give people different controls over how exactly their own social content is indexed for later inclusion in search."
Still, Shankland adds, "Google can't simply ignore social information. Because – perhaps you may have noticed – social connections are a force that's rebuilding the Internet." He's right, in the humble opinion of this blogger. Google will undoubtedly weather some complaints about the security, privacy, of practicality of the new Search Plus Your World feature, and the tech giant may even be forced to make a few corrections.
But as the social Web continues to grow, Google must find a way to incorporate social media results. And for the time being, Search Plus Your World is it.