Are you on team Edward or team Jacob? Oops wrong drama; I meant, are you on team Google or team Twitter? I'm on team "user experience" myself; I always had to blaze my own trails. If you have been vacationing on Mars the last few days, there's been some talk in the SEO world regarding Google's modification to its Google+ social platform. There's no need to reiterate a multitude of Google+/Twitter information you can read on the topic popping up here, there, and everywhere on the Web. What I would like to call attention to is my disappointment as a user.
A Safe Assumption?
What is the Web? I always thought it was a place to secure information – relevant, authoritative, objective information. How can I access that coveted information? I must use a SE (search engine). Google, as everyone knows, is the leading search engine (right now). Okay, Google is the big kid on the playground; as a user, I'll assume the best, objective info is on that SE, especially considering it continuously modifies algorithms and unleashes a Panda on "naughty" Web masters, right?
As most eyes have read, Danny Sullivan wrote about what we should expect from an SE. It should transcend business and the self-serving sentiments of mortals. Search engines should be more like Santa, a selfless champion of goodwill for all. Would Santa leave a few battery-operated presents under my tree, purposely omitting the batteries so I need to buy them from Santa's Electronic Boutique? Not my Santa!
I think Google is in the middle of an identity crisis. Ultimately "Google" is ONE brand, playing several roles. Google is a search engine provider, the biggest (and best?). Also, Google is a provider of additional products and services, like the Google+ platform. Hey, Google staffs a lot of smart people; I'm continuously impressed by the technology and level of thought produced from the brand. However, if you're producing goods and services (and making partnerships with other businesses producing services and products), then leveraging your OWN search engine to offer them, there's going to be a noticeable conflict, yes? Do I blame Twitter, Facebook, SEO experts, novices, butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers for calling, "Shenanigans!"? No, I don't.
Why am I not on team Google or Twitter? Why remain neutral, like Switzerland, in this debate? Because like you, the reader, I'm ultimately a browser, one who desires great service from (any) search engine. Twitter and Google are in a tiff over Twitter's availability in "Your World" results and otherwise. Google raised a good point in reminding them of a previous business understanding. A "business" understanding, ah, perhaps that's where the issue lies. Twitter raised a good point, we the people do use the service very often, depending on the platform to deliver real-time information. Shouldn't a search engine experience most definitely include such a popular, widely used and effective service? I think so. Do you?
We the Users
If we all agree, why are we, the users, punished for such business-related conflicts? If Google and Twitter cannot work this out, if Google can't cure its identity crisis, understanding it might not be able to juggle multiple personalities at once, what suffers more than the revenue streams of these respective brands? The ultimate online experience suffers, as well as we the browsers – plus one for business, plus zilch for users.