Last week, Google silently rolled out a new feature for their search algorithm called “Search, plus Your World,” with an emphasis on the “plus.” What Google has managed to do is to give their own service, Google +, more clout than any other social network within their search results. With this strategic move, Google has lost sight of its company’s mission and has thrown out its mantra, “Do no evil.”
When people use Google, they expect objectivity within search results. Google is supposed to be a search engine that provides you with the most relevant results from across the entire Internet. While Search, plus Your World sounds like it is serving you relevant information from “your world,” it is actually just showing you information from Google +.
For example, try searching for “Facebook” in Google. The top result is Facebook.com, obviously, but look at the results below and to the right. All of those links are to Google +. The top result for Google + is Mark Zuckerberg’s empty profile page. How is having this page more relevant than having a link to Zuckerberg’s Facebook timeline?
With Search, plus Your World, Google is putting an extreme amount of clout behind its own social network. If you’re not on Google +, you are making yourself much less visible in Google search. If you thought that social didn’t matter when optimizing your site for search, think again. Google + is now a pivotal service for influencing your visibility on the web.
Google has been under scrutiny by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for antitrust before and this move has caused the FTC to look even further to see if Google favoring its own products and services is anti-competitive. Google has gotten so big and is facing competition from so many sides that is is scrambling to maintain its dominance in search. This move goes directly against its mantra, “do no evil,” and its mission statement of organizing the world’s information (not just its own.)