Content Marketing Blog

Will ‘Focus On The User’ be able to take on Google when it comes to social search?

In recent weeks a number of high profile individuals and companies have publicly spoken out against the way Google ranks pages on the web.

And amongst fears that the search giant is directing traffic to its own sites in an attempt to boost its own products, a band of social networks have joined together to increase their influence on page rankings.

The new 'Don't Be Evil' tool – which takes its name from Google's company philosophy – is a tool that is compatible with the company's Search Plus Your World social network search platform.

Individuals can leverage Google to look for friends or colleagues' social media profiles by using the bookmarklet via web browsers Chrome, FireFox and Safari – Internet Explorer does not support this new feature.

The outcome of a joint project between engineers at Facebook, Twitter and MySpace the 'Don't Be Evil' tool gives users access to increasingly personalised search results from social networks like Flickr, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Quora, Foursquare, Crunchbase, FriendFeed, Stack Overflow, Github, and Google+.

In effect, the mechanism changes the weighting given to different pages and does not preference Google+ ahead of alternative sources – something the company has been accused of doing since the introduction of its social search initiative.

Users wanting to trial the tool can download the open source software from Focus On The User – an organisation that says it is dedicated to improving the relevance and therefore performance of search results.

FOTU says that people could have a better search experience by using the tool and the opening statement on the web site reads:

"How much better would social search be if Google surfaced results from all across the web? The results speak for themselves.

"We created a tool that uses Google’s own relevance measure – the ranking of their organic search results – to determine what social content should appear in the areas where Google+ results are currently hardcoded."

According to All Things Digital the 'Don't Be Evil' project was led by Blake Ross, director of products at Facebook, however, this has yet to be confirmed.

Posted by Aimee McBride