Search Engine Optimization and Marketing for E-commerce

Google+ vs. Facebook Social Media War Heats Up

by Andrew Kagan 5. July 2011 10:12

Google's push to make their ubiquitous search engine more social with its "+1" tool is heating up the war with Facebook over referral rankings, leading Facebook to restrict access to users’ own data when trying to export friends’ info to Google.

Google has long had personalization built into its search-related apps, and its Local search services are already competing with destination-based review services like Yelp, FourSquare and HeadsUp. Google’s +1 service, which relies on a new Google+ friends database, is now moving recommendations into its main search results, creating direct competition with Facebook for user ratings.

The struggle reached a flashpoint with the introduction of Mohamed Mansour’s “Facebook Friend Exporter” extension for Google’s Chrome web browser, which exports all your Facebook friends’ contact info including email addresses to a CSV file. Early adopters of Google’s +1 service have started to utilize this tool to conveniently migrate Facebook friend data into the Google+ friends database. As use of the tool skyrocketed in recent weeks, Facebook began to block it claiming it violated their terms of use.

Privacy advocates immediately cried foul, criticizing Facebook for preventing users from easily accessing their own information. New solutions for getting your friends data out of Facebook are now popping up all over the place as a result. Facebook will undoubtedly suffer a black eye if it tries to escalate and prevent “friend seepage”.

Thumbs Up vs. Like

Google’s +1 service allows logged-in users to give individual webpages a “thumbs up” recommendation, which other google users in your Google+ friends list will see in the search results. Website admins need to add the “+1” snippet to pages they want to make available to ratings. Similar to Facebook’s “Like” button, users can only register their approval of a page…there is no “-1” or disapproval of pages.

Google will also weight the search engine results for pages that are recommended by your friends, creating a powerful SEO metric whose success will depend on how many Google users log into google and use its contacts database (all Gmail users are automatically opted in to this system when logged in and using Google as their search tool).

While Google has tried to soft-launch the entire Google Plus system, it is undoubtedly a direct attack against Facebook’s primacy in social media, and fully integrates social relevance with search ratings.

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