Google's mash-up of search and social, awkwardly dubbed Google Search plus Your World, is another example of Google experimenting with something new and finding the welcome reception … not so welcome.
In fact, Search Plus was instantly reviled. The Lifehacker site immediately posted an article describing how to hide Search Plus results. Some writers reacted so violently that you'd think Google was conducting insane Dr. Moreau-style science atrocities, and not simply plugging Google+ into Search. Even Twitter got red-faced and angry, despite the fact that Twitter backed out of a similar social search deal with Google and cut the deal with Microsoft's Bing instead.
Now the FTC has been alerted and Search Plus looks like it's headed down the road of doom. But what do average Google users think -- and what are they saying on Google+ itself?
Disclaimer:The results of my pretty basic search of Google+ slant towards the positive. I weeded out posts that were just links to big-ticket blogs. I also excluded posts that were little lessons for "better B2B marketing." That said, the opinions below are not my own. I personally dislike the idea of Search Plus, but also think it's easily ignorable and, in and of itself, not a big deal.
The Voices of Google+
Steven Roose likes the idea that the new service will make searching for people on the Internet easier. He writes, "There are a lot of people 'Googling' people's names to find some information of them, which will lead them directly to their Google+ profiles. (I hope those will appear above the Facebook profile links, though)."
Even though Mark Traphagen is enjoying his exploration of Search Plus, he thinks it's integrating social into search the wrong way, and describes a more useful method: "I was hoping they would use social data as just one more signal to improve their overall search. Not personalized search (search just for me with my own social circle influencing), but overall search enriched by the aggregate of signals coming from social networks. In other words, social would be one more 'vote' among the many votes (such as links from other sites) that go into determining search result rankings."
Crystal Murphy simply thinks it's "very cool."
Mike Quinn posted a satirical pic that makes competitor's complaints look all the more foolish.
Tim Withers looks at the Search Plus fiasco as "just business" and attributes potty words to the FTC's involvement: "Facebook & Twitter have never been particularly generous when it comes to sharing data with Google, but now everyone's demanding they be included alongside +? I'm all for more relevant search results, but it's a two-way street. Why should Google scratch their backs if they aren't willing to return the favour?"
Gigi Fernando also agreed that Twitter is acting like a baby: "Let's not get oversensitive Twitter, you had your chance and you Snoozed. Boom!!!" She also posted links that explain how to make Search Plus more helpful.
Artevius Hardin found Search Plus to be surprisingly useful, noting, "I finally have Search Plus Your World, and I like it more than I thought I would. I immediately searched 'Comics' to see if anyone in my circles have been posting about them lately. I found some of my posts, loving the way they look in the search. I also did a search for 'Building Computers' and found a well put together article by +The Verge : (http://goo.gl/pAeXD) I'll surely be putting that to use soon."
Valerie Seckler took Search Plus with a grain of salt, calling it "revealing and entertaining," but wondering where and how far it'll go: "It remains to be seen, though, how limiting or unwieldy Google+'s efforts at becoming more social will be. What will +Google searchers have to wade through or miss altogether in their content searches, due to the proliferation of results from their own Google+ connections?"
It's interesting that most people aren't pissed about Search Plus. What do you think? Maybe these thoughts are biased simply because they've been posted on Google+ and not Facebook or Twitter?