The Problem with Blending Organic Results with Social Information

Hey Google, you know me, but do you really know me? I know, I know, you have all that customer data and you’ve just changed, refined your privacy policy so I know you really know me but… we’ve known each other for at least 10 years and we’ve grown on each other but…I have a beef.

Just because I have people in my Google Plus Circles doesn’t mean that what they “might know” or talk about is necessarily the  search result information that I was looking for or need. That’s great that you now make it come up above the fold, but that doesn’t always mean it’s going to benefit me. What it really means to me is that I now have to scroll through a bunch of stuff that may not matter in order to  to get to a hopefully organic result.

Part of the attraction of Google has always been its simplistic interface tied into an algorithm that really understood that what we were looking for was the best, most relevant search result. Now what we get is a search result tied into a) Google’s latest foray into social and b) someone’s  Google + social affiliation to me. This means that if I’m looking for information about violins. I may have to sift through a search result that incorporate’s my Circle’s random observations, musings, photos and videos of violins, when what I was looking for was where I could buy one in my city that was inexpensive and durable.

Google isn’t enhancing the search process with tying it into Google Plus, it’s assuming that it knows me and my circles and what is best for me when I search. You don’t want that, what you really want is this…

What we may have to start doing is redefining what a Google organic search result is. Sometimes, actually more times than not, I need and you do too, a search result that isn’t or hasn’t been influenced by nothing more than pure relevance to the topic at hand. It may not happen today or even next year or the year after that, but at some point, someone will build a better, cleaner search engine that will be what Google was when Google first launched.

I’m Worried About Google Plus

It’s no secret to most of us in the digital world that Google’s track record in trying to roll out socially infused applications is not good. I can’t even remember the last time I checked in at Google Buzz. I’m starting to think that maybe Google Plus might fall into that category as well. Here’s why. Since it came out, I haven’t had time to use it. I see that I keep getting notifications of people who keep adding me but I really haven’t had nor have I really taken the time to organize it. And maybe that’s the problem. I need to organize it. I know, Twitter and Facebook allow you to do it to a certain degree, and I have organized them, so what gives?

Maybe this town ain’t big enough for another social network?

I can definitely verify that interest for me in Google+ is waning, but maybe there is a deeper issue here.  What am I supposed to do with this other network if the same people I follow and communicate with on Facebook and Twitter appear on Google Plus? I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Facebook and Twitter are broken so therefore, what is the compelling offer for me? What is it for others? What about hardcore Facebook users? The attraction could be Facebook fatigue or a cleaner UI, but beyond that, is the grass really that greener?

Maybe I’ll start using it, but for what? To push out more content? To consume it? To organize it? I already do that elsewhere. I need a really good reason beyond aggregating the things I already do on or with Google to use Google Plus. Maybe I don’t know what I can do, if that’s the case, then share with me what you know or do with Google + that might give it an advantage.

I can’t be the only one who thinks this…Can I?

The Google+ Conundrum

It’s not a conundrum. It’s a logjam. If you’ve been in the social space for any amount of time now, you have seen Google’s “other” attempts at going/being social. Google Sidewiki, Google Wave, Google Buzz and in each case, the premise was clear but the execution not so. So now we have Google + and it may have a chance but…

What you need to understand in this social space is that the longer they(Google, Facebook, MSN, Apple, Yahoo, et al) can keep you in network, the better. That means providing you with the business services, tools, entertainment outlets and peripherals that can casually prevent you from thinking you need to use another service or site to achieve said service or tool.

Which leads us back to Google + and the logjam.  Google + is cool, it may even fill a need, but is it a Facebook killer? No. It will fill a need, and it’s ability to link your email connections into “social” Circles is a no brainer, but here is the bigger problem. The majority of people on a social network right now are on Facebook. Google is hoping, asking, assuming that maybe you want to leave Facebook for a “better” experience. Google is betting on you willing to reset your “socialness”.

Let’s say you currently use Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Ping, and half a dozen lesser social enabled sites; that really doesn’t leave much time to have a physical, in-body, face to face experience, Does it? So, someone has to suffer, someone has to lose. It’s been said that Google has 10 million new users in Plus in the first 2 weeks. Is that the new shiny thing effect? You betcha! Should Facebook be worried? No.

The only thing Facebook will do is evaluate the features that Google+ has created, see if any of them make sense for Facebook users-and then they’ll recreate them for Facebook users.  In Goggle +’s defense, They will create a decent fan base of loyal and ardent users, but a social networking behemoth? No. Google just needs to identify waters that are cluttered with…other logs and stay out of them.