August 13, 2012

Google Shelving “Search Plus Your World” Service?

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

A Google initiative designed to personalize search results for members of its social network is no longer being actively pursued by the Mountain View, California-based tech giant, a company representative told The Telegraph on Sunday..

Amit Singhal, the Google official in charge of improving the website's information retrieval systems, told Emma Barnett, Digital Media Editor for the UK newspaper, that the company had found a "better place" for results linked to Google+. The initiative, which was dubbed "Google Plus Your World," was launched in January and was almost immediately the target of rivals such as Facebook and Twitter, which accused Google of promoting their social network at the expense of others.

Singhal told Barnett that the personalized search results for Google+ "have now settled in a place which were better than when we launched." He added that the initiative, which drew accusations that Google was promoting its other services through its popular search engine, was "a learning process“¦ we experiment, we learn, we improve -- that´s what Google does."

Search Plus Your World” was officially unveiled in a January 10 blog post by Singhal.

Three major features comprised the core of the then-fledgling service: personalized results based on an individual's Google+ posts and photos; the ability to immediately locate the profiles of other Google+ users that you follow or might be interested in following, both in search results and in auto-complete; and Google+ profiles and pages associated with a specific topic or area of interest.

“Search is pretty amazing at finding that one needle in a haystack of billions of webpages, images, videos, news and much more. But clearly, that isn´t enough. You should also be able to find your own stuff on the web, the people you know and things they´ve shared with you, as well as the people you don´t know but might want to“¦ all from one search box," Singhal said. “We´re transforming Google into a search engine that understands not only content, but also people and relationships."

Other social networks wasted little time crying foul, according to The Telegraph. By the end of the month, Twitter senior counsel Alex Macgillivray accused Google of "warping" search engine results and called the "Search Plus Your World" launch date a "bad day for the Internet." Twitter also teamed up with Facebook and MySpace to launch web browser tool in an attempt to counteract the pro-Google+ initiative, Barnett added.

Despite Singhal's admission, some experts aren't anticipating major changes in the service.

"Google has a vested interest in sending users to its relatively young social platform, so we don't expect to see Google+ pages plummeting to the bottom of search results anytime soon," Chris Welch of The Verge said. "A few quick searches confirmed as much, with Google+ content still being displayed prominently more often than not. Still, for those finding that Google's 'improvements' aren't coming at a rapid enough clip, there's always the option of disabling personalized search altogether."