Technology is our friend: Hey Google: "Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet" (Rousseau)
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January 14, 2012

Hey Google: "Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet" (Rousseau)

This joke from 9Gag.com is funny, in a way (and for the Germans: It's no Guttenberg-Joke). But like with many good jokes, there’s some truth to it. Google is supposed to be just as neutral, just as fact-oriented as Wikipedia is. It is considered an institution, and we always trusted Google to do no evil, at least in search – and deliver the most relevant results to our searches, no matter what they are. With Google’s recent changes to its search engine that have been received well and in most cases not-so-well in the major blogs, my opinion is that Google shows, once again, what I accused them of in my latest path/G+ comparison: a lack of patience.
They incorporated G+ results in search. Whatever your search engine optimization efforts were up to now, set up a G+ account and you will have a thousand percent more effect on your visibility than with all the other activities combined.
This wouldn’t hurt so much if these results were… well, relevant. But G+ is far away from being an established social network where sharing content leads to a relevant news feed, at least for me and I bet for a billion other people, too.

Hey Google: These can't be my most relevant results
Especially with an asynchronous friending concept where anyone can add anyone, different from Facebook where both have to agree on a connection, I chose the people I follow much more carelessly. This means that my search results get diluted and are full of stuff that I am not looking for. If G+ had a good internal search, I knew I could go there if I wanted to see what my connections have to say about a certain topic. And yes, I know I can opt out of social search, but to be honest, that just proves to me that there is no hyper-genious super-algorythm that delivers the best (neutral), most relevant search results, but that I can have version 1 biased in this direction and version 2 biased in that direction.

I would expect a search engine to be as unbiased as possible, though.
This could be achieved if you incorporate social content, but in some smarter and less obvious way than Google/G+ does. Here’s the thing: Does anyone remember that Microsoft is a stakeholder in Facebook (at a 15 bn$ valuation, by the way, when we all thought this is crazy)? Maybe their time has come. Google started and introduced “social search”, but their “social” is weak and immature. It's simply not ready yet. Imagine Bing came up with a smarter solution – including Facebook, which is way stronger, based on mutually agreed connections and will reach a billion active users probably somewhen around Q3/2012 – this could be the moment Microsoft and Facebook have been waiting for. I can't get rid of the feeling that Google is trying to use search to boost G+ - but it should be the other way round. The quality of a social search is determined by the quality and intensity of the personal relations behind it. And Google+ is just not there, yet.


Google’s search market share has been hovering around 65% for years, and Microsoft took market share from all the others like Yahoo!, but not from Google, which should have been their masterplan. Now they might be able to hurt Google - if they attack. Either that or Google has some hyper-genious killer master idea that I am just too dumb to see.

- Edit, Jan 16: Hitler is outraged, too.