With Google revising its search engine to include personalized Google+ results, you might wonder how other social networks are reacting. Do they see it as the start of a search engine revolution they can participate in, or the unfair promotion of a competitor over their own services? If you’re leaning towards the latter, your cynicism’s well-earned.
While Facebook has declined to comment on the change (though remember, Facebook is already partnered with Google competitor Bing), Twitter has released a statement saying it’s “concerned” about Google’s ‘Search plus Your World’ functionality, because it worried that the changes would make finding Twitter results — something it called “a vital source of … real-time information” — ”much harder for everyone [and] we think that’s bad for people, publishers, news organizations and Twitter users.” The company pointed out that people “have relied on Google to deliver the most relevant results anytime they wanted to find something on the Internet,” and suggest that introducing a more social search will lessen the relevance not only of Twitter, but Google search overall.
It’ll be interesting to see how — if at all — Google responds to this criticism, in part because it’s not altogether accurate. Not only is there the option to shut off personalized searches for all users, but the personalized results don’t replace the “regular” search results; they’re shown in addition to the results you would have turned up before Search plus The World launched yesterday. Whether Twitter’s reaction is based upon a misunderstanding or not, it highlights the need for better elucidation of what Search plus The World is and isn’t, and how it will impact both users and those who’ve benefited from Google’s search results in the past.
A best case scenario here is that Twitter partners with Google to add its own content to Search plus The World, although that may be impossible without fully integrating with Google+. In any case, surely personalized search — especially if it’s controllable by the user — is the future of Internet search, in which case…isn’t it better to join rather than hope to beat them?
Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.