Google has decided that it will not be emphasizing the combination of its social network, Google+, and its original authoritative search platform any longer.
Earlier this year Facebook, Twitter and Myspace teamed up to publicly criticize Google over changes to its search engine which promoted Google+ content at the expense of other results, not long after the social network launched, according to the Telegraph.
Amit Singhal, the Google official in charge of improving the website’s information retrieval systems, when pressed by the Telegraph, admitted that search results relating to Google+ “have now settled in a place which were better than when we launched”.
Though the tech titan has not voiced whether the opposition form other social media sites led to the recanting of Search Plus, the reporting points to it. It could also be due to a lack of success with users. PC World published an article in January, highlighting user responses, which seemed to be mixed yet supportive of Google’s experiments with the integration.
In defense of Google’s prioritization of Google+ content in search results, Singhal says: “I think it’s a learning process – even for us. We experiment, we learn, we improve – that’s what Google does.”
This comes after backlash from social media companies which were mentioned, especially from Twitter. The micro-blogging platform’s opinion was covered my many tech news sites including Mashable.
“Often, they want to know more about world events and breaking news. Twitter has emerged as a vital source of this real-time information, with more than 100 million users sending 250 million tweets every day on virtually every topic. 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.
“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.”
Twitter was outspoken about its concerns partly in retaliation after it and Google could not “agree on what the appropriate value exchange” was for Google to fully index tweets, as Dick Costolo told the Telegraph. Interestingly enough, Twitter has agreed to allow Microsoft’s Bing, Google’s biggest search engine rival, to index tweets.
It will be interesting to see what Google’s decision may mean for future integration of social media and search. This could also mean changes for digital services which have been working with Google+ to influence search rankings and SEO.