Some of the social networking companies feeling left out after Google’s Search, plus Your World launch may very well complain to regulators already gunning for Google, but they’re not going to wait for Washington D.C. or Brussels to tell Google how to manage its SERPs.
Instead, engineers at Facebook, Twitter and MySpace took matters into their own hands with focusontheuser.org and developed a bookmarklet for Firefox, Chrome and Safari that adds a “don’t be evil” button to the browser.
When performing a Google search, that button can be clicked to reveal what the “most relevant results” are — at least according to the Facebook, Twitter and MySpace engineers who built it.
The website from which the tool can be downloaded, focusontheuser.org, explains:
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.
All of the information in this demo comes from Google itself, and all of the ranking decisions are made by Google’s own algorithms. No other services or APIs are accessed.
The website’s call to action: “Try a More Relevant Google.”
Not surprisingly, the tool is creating a lot of buzz in the tech blogosphere, where Google’s Search, plus Your World has met with considerable skepticism and even outright disdain.
Obviously, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace are trying to use focusontheuser.org to make a point: Google could be and should be promoting our properties, but it isn’t because it’s too busy trying to promote its own. In the process, they imply, Google isn’t focusing on its users.
Time will tell if Google’s users agree, but the focusontheuser.org does serve as a powerful reminder that, amongst all the hype over Facebook’s ability to compete with Google, Google Search is still seen as being so important that it can make other companies focus on what (they think) is good for Google’s users.
Given the criticism that Facebook in particular always seems to generate when it rolls out new ‘features’, one might reasonably suggest that the social networking giant take its own advice and focus on the user too.