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Google Facing Controversy Over New Search Plus Results

Google Facing Controversy Over New Search Plus Results

Two days ago, Google changed the way it shows you your search results. Calling it Search plus Your World, it introduced three new features:

    1. Personal Results, which enable you to find information just for you, such as Google+ photos and posts—both your own and those shared specifically with you, that only you will be able to see on your results page;

    2. Profiles in Search, both in autocomplete and results, which enable you to immediately find people you’re close to or might be interested in following; and,

    3. People and Pages, which help you find people profiles and Google+ pages related to a specific topic or area of interest, and enable you to follow them with just a few clicks. Because behind most every query is a community.

Search plus Your World blew up all over the web though, as it seems to prioritize results from Google's own social network, Google+, over results from other social networks like Facebook and Twitter. This implies that Google is tweaking its own search results to favor Google+ over actual relevancy.

Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land has posted detail examples of how Google's new search algorithm favors Google+. This is a problem for two main reasons, as Sullivan points out:

The first is legal. By having a dominant position in search, Google might ultimately be responsible for going above-and-beyond to include competitors. That’s part of what the current anti-trust investigations into Google are all about. One complaint over today’s move — though likely mostly about privacy — is already being readied.

The second is about relevancy. Google’s job as a search engine is to direct searchers to the most relevant information on the web, not just to information that Google may have an interest in.

Locally, we haven't seen the Search plus Your World results take effect yet, according to Google the changes will roll out over the next few days and work for users who are signed in (although Sullivan has seen that users who are not signed in are also shown Google+ results) who are using https://www.google.com in English. For a quick overview of how Search plus Your World works, check out the official Google video:

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