Engineers from Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace collaborate to challenge Google’s Search Plus Your World

don't be evilThe Facebook vs. Google war has been brewing for quite some time—its origins can likely be traced back to Facebook’s launch, when Google was put on notice that it needed to jump on social and soon. Things have only escalated since, with both companies chopping at the bit to control as much consumer data as possible and taking measures to keep the other from doing exactly that.

So it’s no surprise that Facebook–and others–are fighting back against Google’s new Search Plus Your World feature. Earlier this month, Google showed off its new social search integration: while search results were formerly peppered with topical tweets from your connections, the Google-Twitter alliance has run its course and now Google is using its own social network to fill in this blanks. Now search results also surface Google+ content for a personalized search experience.

The move didn’t go unnoticed, and Twitter was quick to criticize. One member of the Twitter team (who happens to be a former Googler) even said it was a “bad day for the Internet.” Tampering with search has gotten Google into hot water before, and this situation has been no exception. “We think that’s bad for people, publishers, news organizations, and Twitter users,” the site said.

Of course, the move took some of Twitter’s traffic, so it’s an obvious source of contention. But Twitter isn’t the only one acting out. Engineers from the microblogging site have collaborated with others from Facebook and MySpace to provide Internet users with a much more accurate social search application (although it was headed by a Facebook engineer). A free bookmarklet available at www.FocusOn TheUser.org gives you access to Google’s own search algorithms but also surfaces the most popular social results—whether they’re coming from Twitter, Facebook, or elsewhere.

“How much better would social search be if Google surfaced results from all across the web?” the site reads. “The results speak for themselves. We created a tool that uses Google’s own relevance measure—the ranking of their organic search results—to determine what social content should appear in the areas where Google+ results are currently hardcoded.”

“All of the information in this demo comes from Google itself, and all of the ranking decisions are made by Google’s own algorithms. No other services or APIs are accessed.”

exampleAccording to the creators, the code will be open-sourced so that anyone can use and improve it.

Google has been accused of using less than ethical tactics to promote its social application—and the critics have a point. How can you call something social search when you’re searching Google+ content only, which falls far short of the activity going on at Twitter and Facebook? And it’s now made the social network a requirement for new Google users—new account signup includes G+ membership as well.

Google Search and Google+ need to stay separate entities. Google’s toeing a dangerous line here, and while you can turn social results off, you can’t turn real ones on. It’s a bad precedent to set when you’re already accused of controlling the world of search as it is, and these new adjustments don’t instill a sense of trust in the search engine. But Google+ could quickly become a thorn in Google’s side (and it’s central product) if it doesn’t recognize this growing dissent. 

Emerging Tech

Here’s how Facebook taught its Portal A.I. to think like a Hollywood filmmaker

When Facebook introduced its Portal screen-enhanced smart speakers, it wanted to find a way to make video chat as intimate as sitting down for a conversation with a friend. Here's how it did it.
Computing

Chrome is a fantastic browser, but is is still the best among new competitors?

Choosing a web browser for surfing the web can be tough with all the great options available. Here we pit the latest versions of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge, and Vivaldi against one another to find the best browsers for most users.
Mobile

Need a date for Valentine's Day? Cozy up with the best dating apps of 2019

Everyone knows online dating can be stressful, time-consuming, and downright awful. Check out our top picks for the best dating apps, so you can streamline the process and find the right date, whatever you're looking for.
Computing

These 30 useful apps are absolutely essential for Mac lovers

There are literally hundreds of thousands of great software programs compatible with MacOS, but which should you download? Look no further than our list of the best Mac apps you can find.
Social Media

Periscope tool adds guests to feeds so streamers can become talk show hosts

Periscope users can now invite viewers to chime into the conversation with more than just the comment tool. By enabling the option to add guests, livestreamers can add guests to the conversation, in audio format only.
Photography

Crouching, climbing, and creeping, the perfect Instagram shot knows no bounds

Just how far will you go for the perfect Instagram? A recent survey shows just how willing Instagram users -- and Instagram husbands -- are to climb, lie down, embarrass themselves or let their food go cold for the perfect shot.
Social Media

Facebook’s long-promised ‘unsend’ feature arrives. Here’s how to use it

Send a message to the wrong person? Messenger now gives you 10 minutes to take it back. After an update beginning to roll out today, users can now retract messages if they act within the first 10 minutes after sending the message.
Social Media

YouTube boss admits even her own kids gave the ‘Rewind’ video a thumbs down

YouTube's 2018 Rewind video went down like a lead balloon at the end of last year, becoming the most disliked video in its history. And now YouTube's CEO has admitted that even her own kids thought it was pretty darn awful.
Social Media

Snapchat finally recovers from its redesign — so here comes an Android update

Snapchat's drop in users after launching a controversial redesign has finally stagnated. During the fourth quarter and 2018 earnings report, Snapchat shared that the company is rolling out an Android update designed to increase performance.
Social Media

Skype’s new ‘blur background’ feature could help keep you from blushing

Skype's latest feature for desktop lets you blur your background during video calls. The idea is that it keeps you as the focus instead of distracting others with whatever embarrassing things you might have on show behind you.
Social Media

Twitter users are declining but more people are seeing ads every day

Twitter's end-of-the-year report for 2018 is a mix of good and bad news. The good news is that more users are seeing adds daily, the metric the company will focus on moving forward. But the bad news is that monthly active users are…
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.
Computing

YouTube beats Apple, Netflix as the most trusted brand by millennials

The popular video sharing website YouTube climbed up in an annual Mblm study, moving up from third place in 2018 and coming ahead of both Apple and Netflix in final 2019 rankings. 
Social Media

LinkedIn finally gets around to launching its own live video tool

Live video is coming to LinkedIn for businesses and individuals on the site. The livestreaming feature is launching in beta in the U.S. before rolling out to the entire community.