So many of you have noticed the new “Google Black”, or the re-branding of the Google SERP (search engine results page) but most never thought much of it. All of the search geeks however wondered why they would mess with something that everyone in the world wanted to imitate. The simple answer is that Google is again preparing to battle Facebook with a new service called Google +.
“We’ve created a system that’s based on the concept of circles, so that I can take my college friends and drag them into a circle called ‘college buddies,’ and I can take my work colleagues and drag them into a circle that’s called ‘work friends.’ And I can share selectively the parts of myself with those circles that I choose to,” according to Bradley Horowitz who oversees Google’s communications products and social applications.
These circles are focused at making people more open about what they are sharing. If you watch their “promo video” you will see that their expectation is that people drag and drop their friends into “Circles” and then to share some things to some groups. This concept of permissions greatly changes the way that Google and others have faced the concept in the past. In the past, Social was Social, now it is really Social is Local. Now local of course could mean Friends in Pennsylvania, or Friends from Work. Either way it is a method by which a single person can pick who he sends what information to. Great Concept, as a lot of people I know have multiple Facebook accounts some for work, some for fun, etc.
Now at the same time a little known feature of Google disappeared. Google “Realtime” brought information from sites like Facebook, MySpace, and most noted Twitter almost instantly into view of millions of users. Now yesterday this went missing and returned a 404 error. Apparently, the company took it down because it is planning on retooling the feature due to an expired contract with Twitter as well as because of the recent release of the Google+ social networking service.
The contract, started in 2009, apparently ran out on July 2nd, and was shutoff without Google even thinking about it. Kind of funny if you think about what most of us would do to have a single feed of information pouring into the largest search engine in the world.
So what do they mean, well Google is positioning itself to take on Facebook once again. This is partially due to the shift in revenue (more people spending on Facebook ads than Google ads now), well who am I kidding… it has everything to do with revenue! Facebook has found a way to make money finally, and they are doing a great job at it. Every ad has a “Find me on Facebook” on the TV let alone print. And the “Ad Space” allows for a little more personalization due to your friends, their focus etc.
Now imagine Google. They have released +1 (their like button), Voice, Gmail, Calendars, Google+, recipes, FellowFinder, and have access to index all of it. Imagine the power to now correlate all of this information into their concept of Social Searching. If they are successful, they could revolutionize the search world again. That is if they can get the rest of the world to ignore the concept of data privacy!