August 15, 2012
You’re So Vain – Vanity URLs Coming To Google Plus
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Google Plus and other social networking sites are already prone to giving us the ability to act out on some of our less savory desires. After all, we´re able to spend many slothful hours perusing these sites, be it to read new articles and stories or just catch up on the latest gossip. We´re given a wide berth of information to choose from and even post, possibly more information than we could have ever wanted. Most of all, these social networking sites play to our vanity, as each profile and each post is somehow all about us. Us, us, glorious us.
Google this week gave us yet another reason to make social networking all about ourselves by rolling out vanity URLs for Google Plus accounts, a feature their two largest competitors, Facebook and Twitter, have had for years.
In truth, finding others on Google Plus could be a bit of a chore. If you had just met someone at, say, a conference, you couldn´t simply tell them to find you at Google.com/SomeGuyAtThatConference. Instead, you´d have to tell people to search for you on Google Plus and hope the connection was made.
Sure, it wasn´t incredibly difficult to connect with people on Google Plus, but I suppose it´s the principal of the thing that matters here.
“Whether you're a clothing brand showing off your latest fashions (Google.com/+hugoboss), an athlete talking about the game (Google.com/+davidbeckham), or an actor recalling a favorite role (Google.com/+hughjackman), your Google Plus profile helps you connect with the people who share your interests,” writes Saurabh Sharma, a Google project manager.
“For instance, +TOYOTA can now use Google.com/+toyota to unveil their latest models, +Britney Spears can share her upcoming appearances at Google.com/+britneyspears, +Ubisoft can share game trailers and videos at Google.com/+assassinscreed, and +Delta can help travellers find great deals at Google.com/+delta.”
At first, says Sharma, these custom URLS will only be given to a select number of verified accounts. Google plans to roll them out to “many more brands and individuals” over time.
There is an interesting pattern in these example URLs, of course. As Google tries to reign in each of their offerings– an effort to put more wood behind fewer arrows, I suppose– they´re bringing everything to their brand. These URLs all begin with Google.com/+, meaning Google wants each profile and each URL properly branded as a Google offering, nothing more.
After all, these changes seem to come directly from Google´s promises to make Google Plus their backbone, the center of what they do. As CEO Larry Page said recently, “Google Plus is truly at the heart of our efforts to create our social spine. With over 120 Google Plus integrations to date, we're on the right track. Your user experience on Google just gets better. You can see friends' recommendations when you're using Google play and you don't think about that as Google Plus but it just comes from that infrastructure.”
Earlier this year, Google also announced changes to their search algorithm, placing results from their own social network at the top of the results page. Just last week, Google announced more changes to their search, adding a user´s email account to a more unified search as they take “baby steps towards preemptive search.”
With these new changes, it´s likely the common and quick Google search could become nothing more than an advertisement for other Google services, including their mail, music and social offerings.