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You are not an author of your own content until you have a Google Profile (gradually Google+)!

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We have been hearing from last few years search is going to be social; all search engines in coming years are going to put more value to social signals from the searcher’s social graphs then the links obtained by sites from different places in the result pages. Google and Bing have already started to do so.

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There is no denying Google has been a leader in the search space for almost a decade and all attempts from startups to big corporates have been either complete failure or feeble successes.

This time Google have entered the social arena with their newest and by far the best attempt at social with Google+ to disrupt the current beat of champions namely Facebook and Twitter. The battleground is set across multiple devices and platforms. Google already has a big market share in mobile OS through Android.

Microsoft and Facebook closeness might be fruitful for the latter to take advantage of users on upcoming Windows 8 mobile OS. Apple has already announced its plan to integrate Twitter on iOS 5. Google+ is definitely going to leverage its Android platform. Google might also start releasing versions of Google Chrome similar to Rockmelt which would have Google+ integrated all around the browser. But another very strong platform, on which Google has almost complete monopoly and nobody is talking about, is Google Search.

Google has started showing author images with articles on its search pages. The image of author is being fetched from Google Profile page. Image accompanying the search result is a definite boost to CTR. Every site, blog and portal; big or small will have no choice but to implement it. In very short time the SERPs (search result pages) will start looking like social pages with author images, +1 buttons and other social stuff.

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But what strikes me most is how Google is forcing me or other webmasters to have a Google Profile Page. I cannot claim my ownership of the content I am producing without creating a Google Profile. I repeat, according to Google I am not an owner of MY OWN content until I create an account with Google.

This is something very similar to what Baidu has been doing in China, promoting its own sites through its search. Most of the time neutral results are only shown after first or second page in Baidu’s search result pages.

Search is the biggest online advertising platform. Its neutrality and fairness toward search results is one of the biggest yardsticks in winning the trust of web searchers. Search engines are expected to show results based on the content of the sites and not based on whether the webmasters are active on social networks owned by the respective search engines.

Why is it necessary to claim ownership of my own content through Google Profiles network? Why I can’t do it through my existing Twitter, Facebook or other network’s profiles page, which are already public?

Google is late to the social party. Their last attempts; Buzz and Wave have been failures. Facebook and Twitter have already been established as market leaders. Google understands this very well, that the features or usability might create initial buzz but to get into the mainstream they need to acquire users at rates much faster than what Facebook and Twitter have been doing in last few years.

Somebody on Twitter rightly pointed out – “I am not going to move to Google+ until my wife and all my friends decide to do so.” Google+ needs to acquire social graph of the masses.

Google is done with politely inviting people. Now you are forced to join the social network otherwise your competitor is going to kick you in search results. And to protect yourself not only you will be joining Google+, you will have to share your content with your friends across Google+, which means you have to invite your friends to the new social network as well.

Social network essentially are build on two building blocks – Social Graphs and good content. Whichever social network can unearth the two blocks in better way will be the winner in the long run. People share interesting content on their favorite social networks. Look at your social timelines; the reason you spend so much time on social network is because your timeline is full of interesting content. Google will be forcing webmaster to first share their content themselves on Google+ and then request, plead or motivate their readers and friends to share it on Google+ more than other social networks.

Here is one suggestion to Google – don’t restrict or force users to Google Profile. Let them build their profiles wherever they want. Instead ask people to follow open standards protocol (www.ogp.me) and tag their content properly so that their profile and pictures can be included with the search results.

Let people have the final say in deciding to use Google Profile, Facebook, Twitter, Gravatar or Disqus.

Let the web be free.

[Image credit : MyInsideGamer]

  1. Swathi Reddy says

    great news for bloggers.
    http://www.daytodayinfo.com

  2. swathireddy says

    good news for every boggers

  3. Rajan Chandi says

    Thanks for correction! :)

  4. Rajan Chandi says

    Good question Arun. We’re not going index the full article which requires licence.
    This is just going to be headlines and summary, the way Google indexes it.

    Here is the blog post on why it is a win-win for news papers and Loquila.
    http://blog.loquila.com/loquila-debuts-realtime-news-service/

    1. Arun Prabhudesai says

      That question was asked by Sushrut and not Arun :)

  5. James Greg says

    Google has dominated the internet and everyone agrees to it, and now it’s using this tool to forcefully join their program G+. I don’t think this might be a fair idea and if people like Mark Zuckerberg create an application similar to Google it’s bound to attract more users as they would have a sense of freedom. If Google plans to gain users by force then I think the time has come for another search engine to start promoting and upgrading it’s services. Blackmailing will cause rebellion.

  6. Rohit says

    I agree to Sriram here “Content writers should see this as a godsend to build reputation and online presence.”

    But at the same time, my worry is one level above this.
    Today due to richness of platform my email, personal domain email, phone, contacts, social network, blog, photos, information about my physical location, calendar plan etc everything is with Google.

    I’m not worried of getting bombarded with the localized ads or something. Not worried about Google going evil, there are millions of people keeping an eye on my behalf.

    My worry if by any chance if my Google accounts get compromised, i’m doomed. It runs a shiver down my spine the moment I think of it. Email-ID getting compromised is not a “new” thing now, been seeing such mails atleast once a week. I’m worried by the power an attacker gains by this.

    I know i’m taking the discussion to a different tangent, but that’s my worry from “Google used by evil”

  7. Sriram Vadlamani says

    Ankit — Excellent and thought provoking post. I have read it thrice.

    From the post and the comments we tend to agree that we should marry profiles to the content and then show the best content to whoever searches for it. Till now that’s not being done. A simple search would result in 10 pages which are mostly relevant to me. This is a problem for me and for Google.

    Google is dangerously close to being irrelevant. That is something which Google can’t absolutely afford. Google is in search business and it will continue to be in search business. All its Android developments and Google Plus are as what we call ‘moats’ to its search business. If there is a remote threat to its search business then Google will pull all stops to get into that business. Mobile is the first example. Social is the second example.

    Search off late is becoming all about relevance. This is where new search engines are touting their relevance horn. DuckDuckGo and Blekko come to my mind. This is something Google can’t take lightly. Social search with Facebook and Twitter leading is yet another dimension Google couldn’t ignore any longer than it already has.

    Google is trying to solve the social and relevance problems and remove all the noise with Profiles and Google + which marries three elements – popularity, relevance and social. Google + is one of their top products in recent times after Gmail and Android.

    If Google uses Facebook or twitter profiles then Facebook will soon have 1bn users and Twitter half as many. If you are running Google is that what you want?

    Coming to webmasters and content writers, I don’t think they have very many choices and complaining is not one of the choice. In fact, current webmasters might already have this in his/her job description “Get cozy with Google, no matter what”. If they don’t then they should.

    About the third party profiles like Gravatar and Disqus, what does it take to acquire them? Not by Google but by anyone. The open source thing, never quite understood why they don’t take off. I am not sure if it will take off in this context.

    Content writers should see this as a godsend to build reputation and online presence. Now I don’t have to worry about both writing good content and getting pageviews. I know if I write good content, Google will take care of the pageviews. Today I don’t have that privilege. If Google gives me that, then Google and I are BFF.

  8. Rajan Chandi says

    A great post here.
    This monopoly is really bad and it is not going to last.

    We’ve already started working on organizing world’s news project under Loquila.
    Currently, we index over 10 pune based news papers and other national news papers.

    People can vote good articles to top regardless of their source of news brand.
    This favors journalists who write good posts regardless of their news brands.

    We would love feedback.

    1. sushrut bidwai says

      @Rajan

      Have you got licenses for data or is indexing and syndicating news site content allowed for free?

  9. Dhananjay Nene says

    Ok. Lets say google implements ownership using ogp.me. What prevents me from creating a bunch of utterly trashy disrespectful pages and attributing them to Mr. Ankit Maheshwari (purely as an illustration).

    In fact the google link you point to very clearly points out

    These reciprocal links are important: without them, anyone could attribute content to you, or you could take credit for any content on the web.

    Since the profile page is google’s property, google at least has a way to subsequently do something about misattribution (say if I set up a google profile and put your informatiion on it). eg. it could disable that account since the user who setup that profile would’ve violated some of the terms when misrepresenting on the page.

    So can you please elaborate how ?
    1. Open Data can help prevent misattribution
    2. If misattribution does happen, allow google the necessary handles to flag off the misattribution and stop showing the appropriate authorship
    3. Take specific action (eg. shutting down profile pages) in case such misattribution happens
    4. Have the ability to respond appropriately as a business when in case misattribution happens, people start writing blog posts suggesting google is evil because it is showing wrong ownership data.

    1. Dhananjay Nene says

      There is indeed one alternative. But it is likely to be complex, expensive, and could require some additional web protocol wiring. And that is using class 3 digital certificates to sign each page. Google is doing the next best thing and that is using profile pages – pages that it has control over. Probably not so evil after all.

  10. Yash says

    The thing is Google search is a Google product. If you want to show up on Facebook search, you have to have Facebook account. Now Google is also implementing the same policy. There was a time when Google needed the Internet. Now Internet needs Google.

    When was the last time we heard “Don’t be evil”??

    1. Arun Prabhudesai says

      Yash although I love Google Plus, I am in complete agreement with Ankit because of one reason – If G+ manages to get successful and has critical mass, Google will increase its monopoly to such an extent that online publishers & bloggers will be their literal puppets. With FB we have alternatives to Google in many ways…but if G+ were to become huge, we are their mercy..

      Think about it..

      1. Yash says

        I too agree with Ankit. That was the point of my comment. My reference to Google’s motto was a sarcasm. But I guess it wasn’t clear enough. :)

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