Google defends Search Plus Your World

Google defends Search Plus Your World
Your world - searched

Google has decided that enough is enough when it comes to people criticising its latest search project – Search Plus Your World – and revealed that the service will improve with time.

Search Plus Your World is Google's big step into social search. Now when you type something into Google and have a Google+ account, you not only get search results from Google's algorithm but also from content that has been shared with you privately.

The idea being that you now have a place that unifies search, so you don't have to jump to Google+ to search for personal content, you can do it straight from the Google search bar.

As Google+ is still relatively new and underused by many of its users, the reaction to Search Plus Your World has been rather lukewarm and there's that little thing of privacy – do you really want private posts to come up when you search Google?

Google thinks that you do - and has changed its privacy options to suit - and that's why it is sticking by the concept of social search, with Google search chief Amit Singhal, speaking to SearchEngineLand, calling out for calm among the naysayers, explaining it is just too early to tell if the search change is working.

Stop judging

"The overall takeaway that I have in my mind is that people are judging a product and an overall direction that we have in the first two weeks of a launch, where we are producing a product for the long term," explained Singhal.

"We're clearly not done. The product is not complete. It will improve, and we are going to add more things to it. We – Google – always launch products and learn from our launches."

One problem Google is trying to sort out is the amount of spam it is seeing infiltrate users' search rankings.

With the introduction of Google+ content, Google has found that it needs to make sure that its technology can understand if posts which come through have been written by a human or a spambot.

Spam a lot

"One problem we already have observed is there are all types of link spam connections on Google Plus. We have to develop sophisticated analysis, say if someone posts with a particular pattern, we can tell they aren't a real person.

"There's a lot more. It's not just about content. It's about identity, and when you start talking about these things and what it takes to build this, the data needed is much more than we can publicly crawl."

While Google puts the content found on Google+ through its own version of Turing test, it is surely only a matter of time before it starts accepting content from other social networks to add into its search mix.

This is something it did do with Twitter but that deal died back in July. Despite this setback, Google does seem to be open to letting others into its social search experiment.

"We're very open to incorporating information from other services, but that needs to be done on terms that wouldn't change in a short period of time and make our products vanish," explained Singhal.

So, partners are welcome – as long as they are in this crazy search game for the long haul. Until then, though, you can check out one Facebook engineer's version of the service which adds in links from Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and the like.


Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.