Google’s Personalized Search Attracts Criticism

Twitter’s general counsel: ‘a bad day for the Internet’

Google’s new search changes may be a boon for Google+ but, according to some critics, they don’t bode well for the rest of the Web.

Hours after Google announced its new suite of personalization features, called “Search Plus Your World,” voices from across the Internet rose up to question their value – and legality.

In a tweet, Twitter’s general counsel Alex Macgilivray, said, “Bad day for the Internet . . . Having been there, I can imagine the dissension @google to search being warped this way”

Later, Twitter followed up with a statement echoing his sentiments:

“For years, people have relied on Google to deliver the most relevant results anytime they wanted to find something on the Internet. Often, they want to know more about world events and breaking news. Twitter has emerged as a vital source of this real-time information, with more than 100 million users sending 250 million Tweets every day on virtually every topic. As we’ve seen time and time again, news breaks first on Twitter. . .as a result, Twitter accounts and Tweets are often the most relevant results.” 

“We’re concerned that as a result of Google’s changes, finding this information will be much harder for everyone,” Twitter continued. “We think that’s bad for people, publishers, news organizations and Twitter users.”

Macgilivray also tweeted the link to a blog post from John Battelle, founder and chairman of Federated Media Publishing, commenting on the new search changes.

On his blog, Battelle said the changes were another example of the “Internet Big 5” (Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft) trying to be all things to all Internet users.

“Ick. Remember when Google used to be a neutral player that crawled the Whole Dern Web? So sad to see that era pass,” he wrote. “It’s not Google’s fault, entirely, but it’s sad nonetheless.”

Over on his blog, venture capitalist and TechCrunch contributor MG Siegler also chimed in with the simple headline “Antitrust+?

“How on Earth is Google going to avoid antitrust inquiries with their new Search+ features announced today?,” he asked. “If Facebook, Twitter, etc., have any decent presence in DC, the ball began rolling a few hours ago. “This is the type of case that Senators die for. Google wrapped it in a bow and placed it in one of their laps.”

When asked by Search Engine Land about the exclusion of Facebook, Twitter and other networks in which people share personal content, Google Fellow Amit Singhal said, “Facebook and Twitter and other services, basically, their terms of service don’t allow us to crawl them deeply and store things. Google+ is the only [network] that provides such a persistent service.”

Singhal added that “if others were willing to change, we’d look at designing things to see how it would work.”