Google Search plus upsets Twitter
Twitter has attacked Google for introducing a raft of search engine changes that appear to promote Google+ over rival social media sites.
On Wednesday, 10 January 2012, Google announced the launch of Search plus Your World. The company claims that it will help improve the relevancy of search results by allowing Google to understand 'not only content, but also people and relationships'.
Search plus Your World introduced three new features - personalised results integrated into global results, profiles in search and Google+ Page suggestions. These changes are being phased in for all Google.com results in English over the next few days - even when users are logged out of Google.
How relevant is Google Search plus?
However, Twitter has reacted angrily to the launch, claiming that Google's results are not as relevant to users because they give less prominence to real-time information sourced from tweets. In a statement, the company argued: "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 organisations and Twitter users." That was followed up by a tweet from Alex Macgillivray, Twitter's general counsel for policy, trust and safety, which said the changes would "warp" search results in a "bad day for the internet".
Several search analysts have argued that the new-look results seem to be biased in favour of Google+. For example, Search Engine Land's editor-in-chief Danny Sullivan pointed out a number of anomalous Google results, such as the fact that a search for 'Facebook' suggests Mark Zuckerberg's Google+ Page (see main image) - despite the fact he has never posted a message.
Daniel Nolan, managing director at theEword, said: "The Google Search plus Your World project has certainly aggravated a lot of users, with Twitter heading the queue. Google needs to tread carefully here - the main reason people turn to Google is that its results are typically more relevant than the competition. If the company is seen to be promoting its social networking site too heavily, this could lead to a backlash from users."
In the following video, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt denies that Google Search plus Your World gives an unfair advantage to Google+: