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Google+ public posts being inserted into search results

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Coming off the a recent dissolution of a partnership with Twitter for real-time search results, Google has started to intertwine public posts made on Google+ with search results. When a user is signed into any Google service and performs a search, they will see annotations about links shared on Google+ from their friends and connections of friends.

G+ in search resultsHowever, the text only shows that a person shared the link, not their opinion on it. If a friend shares a link to restaurant website on Google+ to mock the terrible food or service, it would still show up on Google as “Friend Name shared this on Google”. It’s possible to that disliked links will appear as recommendations. However, if a user clicks the Google+ link underneath the search result, they can see the full Google+ post to understand why the link was posted.

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Google was quick to stress that only public posts will appear in search results. Any links or posts shared within a circle of friends won’t appear on a Google results page. Micrsoft’s Bing launched a similar feature recently that ties search results into the Facebook API. When searching for a term on Bing, any links that have been “liked” by Facebook friends become more prominent in the results. This requires the user to be logged into Facebook while performing a search on Bing.

This announcement likely ties into Google’s attempt to make sure that all Google+ users are listing their own names on the service. Google has recently shifted its policy from banning accounts without notice to giving users 4 days notice to change the Google+ account to the legal name. In some cases, they are even requesting scans of government issued ID to prove that a user has that name. After the grace period of four days, the account is suspended by Google.

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Google+ brand pages start appearing in Google search results
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Noticed on a wider scale today, Google has begun integrating Google+ updates from official brand pages within search results. The brand page updates are tied to the official URL of the company and up to two recent entries from the brand page appear within the results. Users viewing the search results can add the page to their circles if they have a Google+ profile. They can also click on the Google+ updates to reach the brand page in addition to viewing comments about each post linked directly from the search results. This move will allow larger brands to directly reach consumers with promotions as well as official company messages when publishing a press release.
While Google doesn't allow contests through Google+ pages yet, brands eventually may be able to run national giveaways on the Google+ page and it would show up within the search results. According to officials at Google, the technology behind connecting brand pages with the search result of the official company site is Direct Connect. While Google is still running a trial run of Direct Connect with large brands such at AT&T and Toyota, the company expects to make this available to all brands. Direct Connect allows users to type a "+" symbol in a Google search box and start typing the name of a brand. If that brand has a corresponding Google+ brand page, it will automatically connect the user with that result. 
While Google continues to integrate the Google+ social network into search and many other Google-owned properties, other social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, are going to lose out on that level of exposure. While either social network could work out a more involved partnership with Microsoft for deeper integration into the Bing search engine, the sheer volume of Google searches would still be a topic of concern.

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Mark Zuckerberg spills on Google, China, Steve Jobs, and the Facebook IPO

Facebook’s CEO and COO, Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, appeared on Charlie Rose last night to discuss the social network’s evolution and their respective leadership roles. While we’ve all heard Facebook’s mission statement and professions of connecting the world time and time again, both executives were surprisingly candid about a number of subjects.
Facebook’s potential IPO
“We’ve made this implicit promise to our investors and to our employees that by compensating them with equity and by giving them equity, that at some point we’re going to make that equity worth something publicly and liquidity, in a liquid way. Now, the promise isn’t that we’re going to do it on any kind of short-term time horizon. The promise is that we’re going to build this company so that it’s great over the long term, right. And that we’re always making these decisions for the long term, but at some point we’ll do that.” – Mark Zuckerberg
“It’s—honestly, it’s not something I spend a lot of time on a day-to-day basis thinking about it now.” – MZ
Facebook and China
“That’s not something we’re working on or focused on right now because it’s not a decision we have to make.” – Sheryl Sandberg
“But since, for right now, we’re not available, and we don’t have an immediate path to become available, it’s not—these are not policy decisions we have to make.” – MZ
Facebook vs. Google
“You know, when I think about this, if you compare Facebook and Google to, you know, most of the world, right, to other companies in other industries, they’re actually in some ways, incredibly similar. They are founder-led… Silicon Valley based technology companies that… [are] driven by engineering. They’re very similar.” –SS
“Google is fundamentally about, you know, algorithms and machine burning.” –SS
“I mean, people like to talk about war. You know, there are a lot of ways in which the companies actually work together. There are real competitions in there. But I don’t think that this is going to b the type of situation where there’s one company that wins all the stuff.” –MZ
“I mean, I think, you know, Google, I think in some ways, is more competitive and certainly is trying to build their own little version of Facebook. But you know, when I look at Amazon and Apple and I see companies who are extremely aligned with us.” – MZ
The Facebook platform
“Our goal is not to build a platform; it’s to be across all of them.” – MZ
“There’s one thing that I think is most important to Facebook, which is that we are focused on doing one thing incredibly well. We only really want to do one thing. Connect the world.” - SS
"Building games is really hard and...and what we’re doing is really hard. And we think that we’re better off focusing on this piece. I think that building a great game service is really hard. Building a great music service is really hard. Building a great movie service is really hard. And we just believe that an independent entrepreneur will always beat a division of a big company which is why we think that the strategy of these other companies trying to do everything themselves will inevitably be less successful than an ecosystem where you have someone like Facebook trying to build the core product to help people connect and them independent great companies that are only focused on one or two things doing those things really well." - MZ
On Steve Jobs
“I mean, he—he’s amazing. He was amazing. I mean, he—I had a lot of question for him on how to build a team around you that’s focused on building as high quality and good things as you are. How to keep an organization focused, right, when I think the tendency for larger companies is to try to fray and go into all these different areas. Yeah, I mean a lot just on the aesthetics and kind of mission orientation of companies. I mean, Apple is a company that is so focused on just building products for their customers and their users.  And I think we connected a lot on this level of, okay, Facebook has this mission that’s really more than just trying to build a company that has market cap or a value. It’s like we’re trying to do this thing in the world. And I don’t know, a lot of it I just think we connected on that level.” - MZ
 
You can watch the entirety of the interview here, and check out a preview below. 

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New social network Unthink says ‘FU’ to Facebook and Google+
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There's a new social network in town, and it bills itself as everything Facebook's not. Unthink.com, which opened up registration today for an initial round of beta users, says it is the “anti-Facebook,” and vows to give users complete control over their personal data.
Unthink, which is based in Tampa, Florida, came out swinging, with a manifesto that vows to “emancipate social media,” along with a promotional video that literally says “FU” to Facebook and Google+ for making money by “spying – yes, spying” on users and bombarding users with ads, among other grievances.
According to Unthink chief executive Natasha Dedis, the idea for a new kind of social network came to her in 2007, when her son asked to join Facebook. After reading Facebook's terms and conditions, as well as the terms of MySpace (which reigned king of social media at the time), Dedis said in an interview with SixEstate that she realized that these companies were operating under a business logic that was “totally irrational and exploitative.”
“...I felt that they were basically taking my son hostage,” said Dedis. “He was giving them a perpetual license to do whatever they wanted, they could change the terms at any time. So I thought, 'Oh my god, in the real world, no business could ask its clients to enter into such a legal relationship. So how is this even legal on the Web?' It just baffled me."
Unthink attempts to tackle the exploitation problem in a number of different ways. First, Unthink makes all user data private by default. Users may then allow others to see the information they want public, and keep private anything they want private. Next, Unthink doesn't sell user data to companies. Instead, users can choose to have specific brands “sponsor” their pages. Any users who don't want corporate sponsorship can pay a $2-a-year fee to use the service. In addition, Unthink users may choose how brands communicate with them via a section that's totally separate from their regular information stream.
As we see it, Unthink faces an inconceivably difficult uphill battle against Facebook and Google+. At the same time, however, Unthink's servers are, at the time of this writing, completely overwhelmed by the bombardment of traffic headed to the site today. While some may see that as evidence that the company is unprepared for the big leagues, it at least shows that people are interested in a Facebook alternative – something we saw in droves with the launch of Google+.
We'll definitely be exploring Unthink more in the coming days. In the mean time, check out Unthink's in-your-face promo video, and let us know what you think of, er, Unthink:

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