Google have recently gotten into hot water for tweaking their search results in order to favour their own offerings. This was the case when users complained that Google Apps users were getting higher ranking in search engine results even though their results were not necessarily the most relevant. More recently, Google found themselves in another awkward position when their Chrome browser was found to have been illegally manipulated to rank better and they had to discipline themselves, as it were, in that case.
Now it seems Google are at it again and this time it has to do with Google Plus versus other social media. It is well-known that Google is trying to take on Facebook and Twitter with their social media offering G+ and that it is doing so by hook and crook. This latest issue has to do with what social media search results surface when a search query is made. In the past, or typically, when one searched for a certain keyword, say cooking, what Google would bring up would be the most relevant results based on what was most updated and what was most popular in terms of traffic.
In most cases this would mean Twitter and Facebook profiles, besides websites. Now it seems Google have gone and messed up with this algorithm so that only Google Plus profiles show up even if they are neglected or poorly kept G+ pages while other more relevant results such as Twitter and Facebook do not even appear on the first page, a clear violation of Google’s mantra “Do No Evil”.
Well, some engineers at Facebook, Twitter and My_ have taken the fight to Google by creating a little piece of code that reformats the search results to how they should be if Google had not tweaked the search algorithm, as seen in the screen shot above. Notice the red arrows indicate what the code snippet adds. They have also released a Chrome extension for it that does it automatically.
What you will notice is that the social media results on the right include Twitter and Facebook, both of which are absent in the previous search results. According to a test using Jamie Oliver’s profile, he has a neglected G+ profile that he updates rarely and an active Twitter account. The odd thing is that his G+ account appeared on the first page of search while his Twitter profile was on page two, clearly an oxymoron. Google are yet to comment on this anomaly.