What Marketers Need to Know About Google's Big Search Upgrade

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Mitch Wagner
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Michael Arrington has an interesting theory about Google's Search+ strategy. He goes back in time to the Microsoft-Netscape competition in the 90s. Microsoft at that time viewed Netscape as a potentially fatal competitor. Microsoft believed that Netscape had the potential to put Microsoft out of business. So Microsoft made it the corporate mission to put Netscape out of business instead. 

And it worked. Microsoft's anticompetitive strategy led to an extraordinarily painful antitrust investigation. But here in 2012, Netscape is out of business and Microsoft is still standing. And not doing too badly, actually. 

And that's what Google is doing with Search+, Arrington argues. Google believes it needs to do whatever it takes to put Facebook out of business. If Google draws an antitrust investigation onto itself in the process, well, that'll be years from now, and Facebook will have been long gone by then. 

Ajdun
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Opening the door for Bing?
Ajdun   1/16/2012 9:11:09 PM
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Good article Mitch, have seen some interesting threads on this topic, this week.  

Interesting move by Google here... does G+ have enough real traction as compared to Facebook to not be overwhelmed by the inevitable marketing push that is coming?  If brands feel like they must maximize their G+ presence to ensure search rankings, will that turn off the casual Google Plus-er and those who have not yet adopted it? Does this open up a window for Bing to make real headway?

I am admittedly slow to Google+ and this isnt going to make me any more interested personally, but for my company I am feeling like we will have to optimize our presence or risk getting left behind. But this push by marketers wont necessarily make the experience any more valuable for me as "me." Will be interesting to see it play out. 

magneticnorth
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Re: Google responds
magneticnorth   1/14/2012 6:10:07 AM
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Google: Yes, relevant results that have been shared with you by Google+ Pages you are connected to may appear in Search plus Your World.

I wonder if Pages that are in the Circles of the people in your Circles also get additional points? Like a friends-of-friends thing?

magneticnorth
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Some questions
magneticnorth   1/14/2012 5:58:57 AM
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Search+ is likely to raise antitrust concerns by government prosecutors, writes blogger M.G. Siegler.

Exactly what came to mind while I was reading the blog post. It sounded like the Internet Explorer and Windows suit back in the 90s, though I'd say IE in the 90s was so bad that web developers were willing to support anything that lessened its influence. Some questions I'm asking myself:

 
  1. Google has already faced similar accusations for other services like Google Places. Why is this supposed to be different?
  2. How well will this search "upgrade" work for users? Will it enhance their search experience or will it just feel like Google is hard-selling its own services?

 

Mitch Wagner
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Re: Trust
Mitch Wagner   1/12/2012 8:42:33 PM
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@kicheko - They have to be serious about forming relationships with their customers because they are going to need these to reach them.

Which was always what they should have been doing, rather than rely on SEO. 

If your business depends on SEO, then Google, rather than you, owns the customer relationship. 

Mitch Wagner
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Google responds
Mitch Wagner   1/12/2012 5:53:03 PM
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Google responded to some of my outstanding questions:

The CMO Site: If a Google+ user Circles a brand page, and that page shares content, does that content also show up in future searches by the user, same as if it was shared by an individual person whom the user had Circled? 

Google: Yes, relevant results that have been shared with you by Google+ Pages you are connected to may appear in Search plus Your World.

The CMO Site:On the Profiles in Search feature: Will that apply to brand pages, so if a user types in a search they'd see suggestions for brand pages alongside the profiles of real people?

Google: Profiles in search currently shows Google+ profiles for people. With Direct Connect, which launched with Google+ Pages in November, users can find Google+ Pages in their autocomplete predictions or navigate directly to the +Page by typing a '+' in front of their query. We're still experimenting with Google+ Direct Connect and it won't work for every Google+ page. 

Google also said that Search+ is available only to consumer Google accounts. It's not available to Google Apps for Your Domain users. This could be an issue for B2B marketers. Says Google: "We're working to bring this to as many users as possible in the future but have nothing to announce at this time."


kicheko
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Re: Trust
kicheko   1/12/2012 4:30:44 PM
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Ariella - Previously people used to joke that, 'if its not on the first page of google it doesn't exist'....now i see that joke changing to something like 'The further you go from the first page the better'. By this i anticipate that the later pages after google has exhausted ideas from your circle members, will be the more neutral results, which are what you'd be looking for.

One of the good things they can do is to add a filter option that says 'ignore google+ circles' , but then they'd be eating at themselves if they did that.

kicheko
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Re: Trust
kicheko   1/12/2012 4:23:24 PM
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@Mitch - For marketers it looks like its going to be a little more difficult now since they must find a way to penetrate as many circles as possible. They have to be serious about forming relationships with their customers because they are going to need these to reach them.

Ariella
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Re: Trust
Ariella   1/12/2012 12:43:14 PM
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Now when I do a search, the top of the page shows the avatars chosen by my Google connections who have something on the topic. I have yet to click those yet. Usually I am just looking for a quick bit of info when I Google, rather than various takes on a topic.

Mitch Wagner
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Re: Trust
Mitch Wagner   1/12/2012 11:41:21 AM
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AliceAMM - It's not force-feeding based on who are friends of Google+. It's giving you results based on who your Google+ friends are. 

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