FairSearch - for the right result

Facebook, Twitter and MySpace Remind Google to "Focus On The User"

Since the launch of its “Search Plus Your World” algorithm change, Google has been vocal that the reason it is excluding important signals from Twitter and Facebook is that it lacks access to their information.

Which is a shame since comprehensive and relevant results from all of the social media sites (not just Google+) would clearly create a superior user experience. Imagine searching Google and seeing results from Facebook and Twitter alongside those from Google+.

Today is that day.

Today, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace have launched what John Battelle describes as a “tool meant to directly expose Google’s recent moves with Google+ as biased, hardcoded, and against Google’s core philosophy (which besides ‘don’t be evil,’ has always been about ‘focusing on the user’).”

The tool, aptly named “Focus On The User,” is designed to use “Google’s own relevance measure—the ranking of their organic search results—to determine what social content should appear in the areas where Google+ results are currently hardcoded.”

Search Engine Land describes that tool as “a bookmarklet that works in your browser — [that] changes three parts of Search Plus Your World that currently shows information only from Google Plus. These are:

  • People & Pages results
  • Google+ Sitelinks
  • Google+ Suggestions In Autocomplete”

As Danny Sullivan writes, “the Google search engine, however, was founded on the idea that it should be fair to all. That is, after all, what a good search engine should do — provide the best results, not the results best for its parent company. The continued Google+ification of Google’s search results is bringing that fairness into question. Potentially, that’s an anti-trust issue (and Facebook, as the dominant social service, might find itself similarly under pressure to open up to competitors). But anti-trust issues aside, it’s simply a trust issue.”

Over the last few years, Google has used its dominance in search and search advertising to expand into other verticals (like books, video and travel) threatening competition and consumers. As a result, Google is the subject of government scrutiny around the world, but isn’t often that Google’s competitors have the resources necessary to highlight Google’s anticompetitive behavior and Google’s harm to users. Today is a great example of businesses in vertical search standing up for users. Twitter, Facebook and MySpace – today the Internet thanks you.

Want to see the unbiased results for yourself? Check out the tool at Focus On The User.