Google has received a lesser deal than what Microsoft got out of its deal with Facebook. The widely used social network is now being tapped for socially-driven real time search results, helping Microsoft and Google to give contextually improved search queries. Yet Microsoft’s Bing has access to all of Facebook’s public news feeds for this purpose, while the recently revealed details of Google’s deal with Facebook indicates that the massive search engine will only be able to access the public news feeds of Facebook Pages.
Does this mark an impending problem for Google? Not likely. Google has a tendency to make friends wherever necessary, and open up its own offerings for the betterment of the consumer experience. To this end, many of the open platform initiatives are following suit, working somewhat cooperatively with other platforms in hopes of creating joint access to any given consumer for long-term brand building.
The idea behind these joint efforts is that both platforms will benefit from a consumer’s ability to move seamlessly between the two services. In some cases it’s better for companies to work together towards these goals instead of against each other, as the idea of stealing market share around social networks and their subsequent user data is an uphill battle against the consumers, at this point.
That being said, Facebook will likely find itself in a position where it needs to further open its offerings for the purpose of enabling any search engine to tap into its database for real time search results. Competing with Twitter’s extremely public forum in this regard is going to be a concern for Facebook as it determines the best course of action. Facebook needs to keep its relationship with users intact, which is a practice in patience all its own. Facebook’s claim to fame is its ability to keep information private on a customizable level, so considering moves towards opening public news feeds for public search engines is a hefty matter.
This further opening up of Facebook’s public news feeds won’t come, however, until Microsoft sees better opportunities for its own monetization of that search result data. For Microsoft’s own search engine project Bing, Facebook’s public news feed content is already incorporated into its real time search results. Twitter content is included as well, giving a well-rounded approach to real-time search results with a particular slant on social networking data. This is a necessary front that many search engines have also taken, particularly when it comes to Twitter.
As Google has been somewhat less willing to leverage social networking platforms for immediate real-time search data, its own initiatives have lost steam to those that are interested in better keeping their ear to the ground. In this case, Microsoft and others may be looking to topple Google by providing more context around search engine results.
That’s not to say that Google is losing out just yet. The concept of contextualizing search results has an appeal when we look at the junction of space and time–Google’s method of redirecting traffic across the web while limiting the context of when the content was posted can be frustrating and adds to the necessity of an associated skill set when utilizing Google for web search. What socially generated real-time search results offer is a diminishing learning curve for accessing search results that offer deeper context in relation to the web.
Real time search still has its issues and qualms. As a still-new aspect of web search, we have not fully realized the potential behind real time search and the use of socially-generated content. Additionally, the mass of social networking content being used for real time search results still lacks the context of filtered and verified sources for pointing you in the right direction.
In the end, Google may still find a way to win this race by combining its ranking algorithm with real time search results, giving users the context they need to make the best decisions regarding their interaction with web content. Google’s acknowledgment of socially-driven sites like Twitter and Facebook give us a glimpse into the future of web search, as the ability to give users exactly what they’re looking for is still a goal worth striving for.