Posted by Justin Rondeau | Posted in Google+, Opinion, Social Media | Posted on Jan 23, 2012
Should Search be Social?
I know I am a little behind the ball on getting a post on Google Search Plus Your World out, but it was inevitable that I write about this eventually. When I was out at Affiliate Summit West, I had some scathing words for Google+ when asked about the social network during my break out session on Social Media Marketing tactics.
My main issue with Google+ is that it is an incredibly niched network, that doesn’t add a whole lot of value to the individual user as a social network. When Google+ was initially released, I had predicted that Google was regarding their social network as the glue that will completely close the digital marketing loop, i.e., have accurate analytics in real time for both search and social. Since the release of Google+ it is obvious that this is what Google is trying to do, but they are falling short for one very simple reason:
YOU CAN’T GIVE A ROBOT FEELINGS
I’m sorry if that example sounds like I am talking to you like a ten year old, however this statement holds a lot of weight. By adding the social aspect (the feelings) to Google (the robot) there will be inevitable issues. The first thing that comes to mind is privacy. When Google unleashed the ‘not provided’ section in keywords, marketers were furious (and rightfully so). Not provided keywords show up in your analytics when the person who visited your website access your page through Google while logged into Google+. I am all for maintaining privacy, but since Google ultimately wants a successful adoption rate of Google+, marketers will undoubtedly get screwed.
Essentially at Affiliate Summit I concluded that if you are a business you absolutely need a Google+ page, but you should be incredibly upset about this. I gave this presentation on January 8th, just two days before Google announced the release of their attempt at further integrating Google+ with search.
After reading the official release notes on Google’s blog, I am astounded at the shallow attempt to integrate social and search. I think there are major problems posed by Search Plus Your World, one is a marketing issue and the other is a societal issue.
The marketing issue is simple, a monkey wrench has been thrown into traditional digital marketing tactics. A site’s search results will be altered when personal search is switched on. Companies put in a lot of hard work to rank first in a Google search, and this hard work is getting thrown out the window for the sake of social.
The societal issue that follows from Google Search Plus Your World, is an advocacy for group think. If I am only being shown articles, images, videos and any other form of media that is within my cohort group I am missing out on an incredible amount of information including dissenting opinions. Search plus your world is turning your search results into your own virtual ‘yes man’ by adding the images of your social connections and serving you the ‘relevant’ information.
Maybe I am being too hard on Google+, but there are so many wrinkles to iron out before it starts to flourish. I mean look at how much response a user gets on Google+ as opposed to that same post being placed on Facebook. Google+ is still an emerging network, but I think that it exists for the wrong reason. Search and social are separate and should remain that way. What are your thoughts?
- What Marketers Need to Know about Google Search Plus (greatfinds.icrossing.com)
- Google’s Biggest Social Search Update Yet Features Google+ Content (hubspot.com)
- In Your Face: Google Promotes Google+ in Universal Search Results (ewriting.pamil-visions.com)