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Social networking engineers team to make Google searches less 'evil'

Bookmarklet adds Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn profiles to Google's 'People and Pages' sidebar

By Brad Reed, Network World
January 23, 2012 03:39 PM ET

Network World - Software engineers from major social networking companies have apparently grown tired of Google's relentless drive to push its own Google+ social network at the expense of other sites.

That's why they created the new "Don't Be Evil" bookmarklet, available at the website Focus on the User, to add more results to Google's social search capabilities. The new tool was designed by engineers at Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, and apparently involved "consultation with several other social networking companies" that also wanted such capabilities added to Google's social content searching.

OPINION: Google+ is now officially the creepy guy/gal your friend keeps trying to set you up with

So how does the tool work? Well, let's say you do a simple search for "baseball" on Google. As it's currently designed, Google will give you a sidebar features "People and Places on Google+" that are related to baseball. But if you install the "Don't Be Evil" bookmarklet into your browser bookmark menu and click it before searching, you will then get results in your search that include Major League Baseball's official Facebook page and the Twitter feed of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The bookmarklet essentially takes the most relevant social sites that come up on a standard Google search and pops them into the "People and Pages" section of the page.

The engineers also take some shots at Google on their Frequently Asked Questions page when addressing whether Google needs "more info from social sites to integrate them into its new social features." The engineers respond that "this is clearly not true" since "the bookmarklet never accesses any server or API outside of Google.com. The information has already been ranked and indexed by Google." The engineers say their goal in creating the tool was to build a proof of concept that "shows what is possible with social content in Google's search results."

Google's attempts to integrate Google+ more tightly with its search and email services have come under fire from tech companies lately, particularly when the company started putting Google+ results into your regular search results by giving you a set of "personal results" of links and comments related to the topic that have been posted by your friends and acquaintances on Google+. Twitter, among others, has come out and said that this is a prime example of Google using its own search engine power to bolster its products over those of its competitors. Google has also integrated Google+ more tightly into both Gmail and Android and has created search functionality for its business pages that takes you right to companies' Google+ pages if you do a search with the "+" symbol as the prefix and the company name you're looking for.

Read more about voip & convergence in Network World's VoIP & Convergence section.

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