Google has come under renewed attack, this time yet again, for warping search results in favour of its social network.
The search giant’s new feature mixes ‘standard’ Google search results with personalised inputs from Google+ social network. Micro blogging social network Twitter has criticised the latest move terming it a bad example.
“Bad day for the Internet,” Alex Macgillivray, Twitter’s general counsel said via his personal Twitter account. “Having been there, I can imagine the dissension at Google to search being warped this way.”
On the other hand, Google defended its newly introduced feature and said users will now have the?option to add Google+ results to search and create personalised results.
“We’re transforming Google into a search engine that understands not only content, but also people and relationships. Today, we’re taking another big step in this direction by introducing three new features…to create Search plus Your World. Search is simply better with your world in it, and we’re just getting started,” read the company?s official blog post.
“Search, Plus Your World, will display more content for users who log onto Google, providing access to items they may have put on Google+ or from friends? posts,” said Amit Singhal, who focusses on improving information retrieval at Google. “If someone searches for a dog, for instance, pictures of friends? dogs might show up first in the search results,” he added.
?At Google, we always want to return the most comprehensive and relevant answers to your questions, and many times those answers are in the open public Web, but many times those answers are in your own personal content,? Singhal explained.
?This is the first time we?re bringing personal content right into the results page.?
Google insisted it wants to be comprehensive in its search results.
?Google does not have access to crawl all the information on some sites, so it?s not possible for us to surface all that content,? Gabriel Stricker, a spokesman for the company,?said in an e-mail Wednesday. ?Based on current policies from many social networks, we currently only have persistent access to information from Google+.?
Apparently, Google is not directing its lens on Twitter but Microsoft Corp.?s Bing and Facebook. Last year, Bing began displaying Facebook data, such as restaurants, brands and links friends have recommended, in its search results.
Twitter formerly had an agreement in which Google paid for access to index its database directly but Twitter chose not to renew the agreement. An official Google statement?said it was “a bit surprised by Twitter’s comments” because “they chose not to renew their agreement with us last summer”.
The new Google search does not include content from Facebook or Twitter. According to Twitter, it could make finding Twitter posts on news events more difficult.
“For years, people have relied on Google to deliver the most relevant results anytime they wanted to find something on the Internet.?Often, they want to know more about world events and breaking news,” the company said in an email statement.
Twitter has emerged as a vital source of 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,” the San Francisco based technology network claimed in the statement.
“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,” the statement explained while expressing its fears.
However, many tech pundits say the criticism is unwarranted as Google is willing to include Twitter and other services in its search stream. ?Facebook, Twitter and other services, basically, their terms of service don?t allow us to crawl them deeply and store things. Google+ is the only [network] that provides such a persistent service. Of course, going forward, if others were willing to change, we?d look at designing things to see how it would work,??Amit Singhal, Google’s head of core search quality department, explained.
The new change has drawn in criticism from a number of search experts. “Search engines are supposed to send you away to the best information, even if they don’t have their own in stock,” noted Danny Sullivan, who added that Google has previously been excellent at providing links to the most suitable information. “Today’s change is one of the few times where I’m thinking ‘What the hell are you doing, Google?’ ”
The SearchEngineLand.com editor thinks Google’s move, which clearly promotes its own nascent service. Though launched last year, Google says it had 40m users by last October ? a claim that could attract antitrust scrutiny, because it is only listing information from Google+ posts, and offering suggestions of users to follow on Google+.
James, a tech expert at Dubai Internet City insists Google cannot be accused of foul play. ?Google is trying to optimise the results for its users. We, as consumers, want the best price and the best product, so why are we being hypocritical regarding Google? Is it because it has become a giant? Or is it because we just like a good controversy??
Source: The Guardian, ZD Net
(By Rizana S. Jahan; Edited by Moign Khawaja)