Google Didn’t Want to Favor Google+ in Its New Search, It Just Happened That Way

After drawing criticism for favoring Google+ over other sites in its new social search, Google claims it would integrate Facebook and Twitter if it could, but it can’t so it won’t. The newest iteration of Google’s search surfaces content from its newish social network, including suggestions of new people to follow. Though the engine aims to understand people and relationships, rather than just content, it only scours Google+ to do this. This has rival social networks in a tizzy, as this effectively buries their social content, while lifting Google+’s to the top of the search stream.

Related: Chart: Google+ Hit 10 Million Users 50 Times Faster Than Facebook

The new search is pretty blatant about its Google+ favoritism. But Google sees that as Twitter’s fault, as the rival network relinquished its Google search contract months ago. “We are a bit surprised by Twitter’s comments about Search plus Your World, because they chose not to renew their agreement with us last summer (, and since then we have observed their rel=nofollow instructions,” the company wrote on Google+. The company’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt adds to that line of reasoning, telling Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan that neither Facebook nor Twitter have given the search engine permission to access their content. Therefore it can’t give it the same treatment as its own social network’s content, from a technical standpoint. 

Related: The World Is Even Angrier Than Before About the New Google Reader

Sounds like compelling reasoning, but Twitter and critics think Google has more than enough information to give these networks fair treatment.  “We’re concerned that as a result of Google’s changes, finding this information will be much harder for everyone. We think that’s bad for people, publishers, news organizations and Twitter users,” Twitter wrote in an official statement. Google indeed has access to much of the data posted on Twitter and Facebook, probably enough for Search+ features like the “People and Places” box, argues Sullivan. 

Related: Loyalists Really, Truly Believe Google+ Is Succeeding

But, Schimdt claims they would need to have a conversation with Twitter and Facebook before integrating it into the new system. He also admits that conversation might not lead to integration. But he’s willing to talk, as a sassy Schmidt tells Sullivan in the interview below. 

Related: Google’s Steve Yegge Wins the Blog Readers He’s Always Wanted

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