It has been an eventful year in the world of Google Search. Nearly a full year has passed since the initial launch of Panda last February, which added a ranking factor to the Google algorithm that could ostensibly pull websites with stronger content and branding to the top of search results.
The dust has barely settled from that shift, but (as we reported a couple of weeks ago) Google has made yet another adjustment to their search engine: making it social. Search, plus Your World was released early this month, aiming to capitalize on the premise that people are more likely to trust personal recommendations than search engine results by including results from Google+ accounts in search results.
Though Search, plus Your World does show Google’s willingness to acknowledge that all roads lead to social media, the immediate criticism is that it promotes its own social media platform while shutting out all others. Many sources, including the LA Times, report that Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace have responded swiftly and viciously with the release of a new bookmarklet they’re calling “Don’t Be Evil,” available on the website Focus on the User.
This bookmarklet is a browser plug-in of code that can make Google search results look more like they did before Search, plus Your World was released. In a comparison graphic on the Focus on the User website (as well as from a simple Google search), it’s easy to see that Google+ results are uniformly pushed to the top of search results, while results with the bookmarklet come from a few different social media platforms. Adding a clear emphasis on consistency, the website points out that the bookmarklet only uses information and algorithms that come from Google itself. The code is currently open source, so in addition to anyone being able to use it, anyone can attempt to improve it.
As of yesterday afternoon, Google has yet to respond to the development of Don’t Be Evil. Based on the amount of reporting already devoted to the bookmarklet’s appearance, I anticipate an interesting story is in the works.
Read more at latimes.com.