Google Apps

Google search plus your world isn't an invitation - it's a policy

Those who choose not to take part in Google's social network, or don't throw a lot of attention its way, could be knocked back by those who invest seriously in Google+.

If you haven’t reserved a Google+ page for your business, band, or improvisational comedy troupe by now, I’ll give you three good reasons to do so. They’re the first, second, and third search results in Google for you and your things, with or without Google+ results factored in.

Okay, so that’s technically six results, but bear with me - this is important. Google Search, Plus Your World is automatically enabled for Google users who are logged in, and who have any kind of Google+ presence at all. Mark Kaelin previously explained the big shift in Google’s search and social strategies, but it’s become even more clear, with some time and a lot of searching, how big Google’s big Google+ move really is.

John Battelle offers a fascinating take on what it feels like to be boxed in by Google+ at a branded entity. You need to read the whole thing, but if you’re reading it later, the gist is that people and organizations now have no choice but to maintain their Google+ presence, with the same kind of robust linking and content generation necessary for any aspiring web site, or be, in effect, penalized. Penalized because users logged into Google or a Google Apps account will see results from Google+ high up in their results, and if a person or organization aren’t navigating that topic on Google+, someone else gets the attention and clicks.

In Pod Form

Battelle and his Search Blog are a fairly established presence on the web. So how does Google+ integration shake out for a brand trying to make its name and get seen? I gave the newly social Google results a run-through with my fledgling personal podcast project, In Pod Form. When I search Google while logged into my personal Google+ account, which I used to create a Google+ “Page” for In Pod Form, I get this:

Searching for In Pod Form while logged into Google

The first thing under my actual query is a linked note that “40 personal results” exist for this search, along with 276 million others. Below that is a prominent, well-crawled index for the show’s main web site, and that’s great. Below that is the Google+ result for the show, with a good bit of metadata about who might have +1’d it or shared it on Google+. Even though I created the In Pod Form Google+ Page, I search In Pod Form while logged into a few different Google+ accounts and found the same results.

Log out of Google, search “In Pod Form” (without quotes), and the first result is the same. But the second result is a U.S. military site (actually the Pacific Ocean Division, POD, of the Army Corps of Engineers).

Searching for In Pod Form while not logged into Google

That Google+ result that showed up in the logged-in results is nowhere on the first page of results when you’re logged in. And In Pod Form’s Google+ page only has around 20 people who have added it to circles or given it a complimentary +1 - not exactly a factor demanding placement at number two with a bullet.

There are, of course, alternatives to Google. So I searched In Pod Form on Duck Duck Go for a comparison, and, lo and behold, the results are very similar to Google’s non-Plus results. The iTunes link moves up one notch, but other than that, they’re almost identical, Army Corps and all.

Searching for In Pod Form on Duck Duck Go

Search Engine Land has a few more logged-in-versus-out examples of search alterations. The point is, those who choose not to take part in Google’s social network, or don’t throw a lot of attention its way, could likely be knocked back by those who invest seriously in Google+. Even Google’s own employees are possibly leveraged by how far Google+ spreads. It’s a brave new world Google is entering, and they aren’t just casually asking you to join them.

About

Kevin Purdy is a freelance writer, a former editor at Lifehacker.com, and the author of The Complete Android Guide.

8 comments
rajivk123
rajivk123

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realvarezm
realvarezm

I dont think Google is anymore a search engine, the search engine is part of the leviatan it is still becoming. Like Facebook trying to grow into a search engine both companys will evolve into something yet to discover and to my personal dictionary I will called them Query machines, cause that is where they are going, become and all knowing sites with almos unlimited data about everything. Soon the other "search" engines will be demise by this 2 juggernauts. Its a shame cause i liked Yahoo!

harleyhead
harleyhead

Google is trying to force me and millions of marketers to market Google Plus for them. How? Google has launched "Search Plus Your World" (with the apt acronym, "SPYW"). It puts Google Plus results much higher than they deserve in search. And it's the default mode. Yes you read that correctly...Google is violating their very own Guidelines that WE must live by in order to push Google Plus down our throats so that WE push it down the throats of searchers. I run a small website with the help of Site Build-It and if you want to read more about what me and my colleagues think about this move by Google, check it out here: http://www.facebook.com/SiteSell/posts/314460885266054

seanferd
seanferd

I finally found out where the setting is supposed to be, but it isn't there. Apparently, Google is not done rolling this out.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

The evidence shows that Google+ participants will generally see better results from Google searches than non-participants. Does this new search plus your world concern you? Is Google still your search site of choice?

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

A few months ago they had you all feeling *privileged* to be a part of the exclusive Google+ beta. One's techie-cred was formalized with the invitation.... "...so that WE push it down the throats of searchers." It seems more the case that Google was buying souls, and that yours were for sale ("I'm important; I get Google+ and circles. I'll use this new social network in non-frivolous ways, and thus differentiate myself from the vapidity of FB. All I have to do is....make everyone else google-up, or suffer the search-placement consequences."). Was there a little professional pride attached to your initial invitation? Now that the 'fine print' is coming out, I'm reminded of attorney John Milton (Al Pacino, in 'Devil's Advocate') intoning, "Vanity.....is my FAVORITE sin!" Muahahahahahahahaha!

pbpeterson17
pbpeterson17

I would never have thought comparing Microsoft to Google I would find Microsoft to be the lesser of two evils.

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