Google stole national headlines again this week with its plans to restructure into a new holding company called Alphabet.
But it’s usually the most important things that slip under the radar. No matter what it does with the company and how many different divisions it decides to open the reality is that one of its core businesses lies in search.
And because it does search so well Google’s able to try its hand at so many new projects. When the company wants to it can completely reinvent the wheel.
And it’s recently made another change to its search results, with Twitter integration appearing in desktop searches (they’ve been appearing in mobile searches in the U.S.).
Google’s testing it out, a spokesperson confirmed, so whether it sees the light of day could go either way (though I feel it probably will).
But is it a good idea? It certainly shows that search and social are cosying up and getting closer than ever before, but if Google isn’t careful then the idea could hurt the search engine’s credibility.
Is Google doing the right thing by putting social posts in search results, or is it a recipe for disaster? Let me know in the comments section below.
There’s another school of thought that suggests, after the demise of Google+, that the search engine could be in line to make a bid for Twitter. A delicious rumour that’s been around for years that’s starting to gain traction again thanks to some folks in Silicon Valley.
But Google won’t be putting Tweets into search results to butter up an incoming bid. It’s more of a realisation that Twitter is the best social platform out there for new breaking news content, and that certain results can get people the information they desire faster.
That’s good news for Google which needs to provide the best results possible to keep people using it and finding it relevant. It’s good news for Twitter, which isn’t having the best of times at the moment and can show itself as a better source of information.
More importantly it’s also good for content creators who have another way of getting found in Google if they create relevant, fresh, topical content.
Fastest finger first
The BBC, for example, has made fantastic inroads with Twitter having recently been named the most tweeted publisher on the internet with nearly 4 million shares; almost a full million tweets ahead of its nearest competitor the New York Times.
It’s not just its social strategy which is seeing the BBC attract new readers and get more of its content out there, but the sheer diversity of its content and the regularity of which it’s published.
Easy for an organisation like the BBC with all its resources, right? Well, yes, but good editorial is also essential when it comes to the quality of the content. It could take the direction of a lot of publishers and create fluff all day long.
So why have I said that Google’s credibility could be hurt with this latest move? Simple, and it’s a topic I’ve covered here before. The spread of misinformation.
The very nature of social media can be thick and fast in the most literal terms. Everyone makes mistakes and it’s easy for a false story or the wrong piece of information to be widely shared and recognised as fact.
That can damage trust not only in the brand that created the piece of content, but also devalue the medium in which it was shared in a lot of people’s eyes. So how will Google choose which content to share?
Will we start seeing more social search engines or is there the possibility it could lead to misinformation? Let me know below!
Questions and credibility
It’ll be interesting to see if Google vets sources to see if Twitter’s idea of an authority matches up with their own, or if they’ll just take Twitter’s word and the account’s overall record for it.
And if they do then isn’t that dangerous? It may be great to get more information onto a single page of search results, but won’t it contribute to making the page itself more bloated? And what about those that have no interest in Twitter whatsoever, might it turn them off Google?
A story cropped up at the weekend, for instance, from Tom Jones who was allegedly unceremoniously dumped from the TV programme The Voice. Only, the story came from the Tom Jones page on Facebook.
It was quoted in the national press and appears to have come from the man himself. So how would that work; as the original source would it be deemed search-worthy to the story? (sorry for any offence, Sir Tom. You are a legend!)
And with so many celebrities using agencies to manage their social media presence (Matt Lucas, for instance) who’s to say that the information coming from the account is trustworthy and not a clever PR stunt? Not only could it devalue Google’s results, but could also harm the very way content is created.
Those are all ‘what ifs?’ for now, but very valid ones should social and search continue to integrate. In the short-term, Google showing Twitter results is the biggest indicator yet that social and search are getting closer than ever before.
And the time is ripe for brands to create interesting content to not just be found in search but to spread socially, too. But care has to be taken as brands have found out in the past; strategise and keep up with current and future trends, add a creative twist on what you produce, and share it with your target audience.
If you’d like to learn more about social media marketing and how it can help boost the reach of your content and business speak with a Webpresence consultant today!
(Images: Searchengineland, Remnant News)