When Google launched “Search Plus Your World” (SPYW) it took a big step toward becoming the company that everyone loves to hate. By integrating search results from the Google+ network into your regular search, plenty of people cried foul. And not just the ones working for Twitter and Facebook.
By excluding results from other social networks, critics claim that Google is tampering with search results to promote its Facebook/Twitter competitor. One of those critics is Focus on the User (fotu), and it is doing something about it. They explain the problem with SPYW and their solution in this video:
The idea is that Google+ profiles and posts may not be as useful as what those users post to other social networks, so fotu gives you the option of finding what’s in those social networks that are complaining about SPYW. They have a bookmarklet that will take any Google search result that is enhanced with SPYW and add links to timely, relevant information in other social networks such as Twitter, Facebook or Quora.
As for me, I’m not convinced that this is the problem that fotu makes it out to be. Google has options such as “Verbatim” mode and “Hide personal results” that minimize SPYW, and the offending Google+ profiles don’t appear on every search. If you search for the word “politics,” you get three results linking to Google+ profiles. Search for “mitt romney,” there are none.
Unfortunately, the fotu bookmarklet doesn’t seem to do much to correct the problem. When you click on the bookmarklet (which is titled “don’t be evil”), you still get the same Google+ links but with other social network links. It still relies on Google to choose profiles from its Google+ social network. You will not get the chance to see the profile of someone without a Google+ profile.
This will not be the SPYW killer that Google haters want. It’s a clever, simple tool that will help you find celebrities’ Twitter and Facebook accounts and demonstrate how Google results can be tweaked for other purposes. Otherwise, it doesn’t do that much.