May 11, 2012

We Tech Bloggers Need To Get Over It: The People Have Spoken (About Google)

Since its launch, Google's Search Plus Your World has gotten a lot of flack from tech bloggers. They argue it's too biased, too cluttered, too unfair, too "inorganic," and so on in that manner. They just don't like it.

That's fine. It's great, in fact, that they can freely voice their opinions, publish them on the open web, and leave it to the people to make up their own minds.

Where we run into trouble is when we the bloggers assume everyone outside of the tech sphere must feel exactly like we feel. They must be just as outraged that Google is favoring its own services. They must be just as furious that Facebook isn't the greatest steward of your privacy. They must be absolutely livid that Apple doesn't have an open ecosystem!

Let's see if the people agree.

New comScore numbers show that Google search usage has gone up this month by 0.1% while Bing-powered search (Bing + Yahoo) declined by the same amount. That may seem small, but when we're talking hundreds of millions of users, fractions of a percent matter. Google has not stopped gaining market share since Search Plus Your World launched. So where's the outrage?

As it turns out not everyone cares about the same things tech bloggers do. Many people are happy to share some personal information to get a great free service in return. They may even like the idea of +1ing a page and then more easily finding it in Google next time. Maybe they enjoy the easy built-in sharing tools in search. And, who knows, but maybe they even find the Google+ posts relevant. We just don't know, since most users don't have their own blog.

What we do know is usage numbers, which keep going up. And we know that Google believes in this integration. They also have their own internal data on how users are liking the change, and these stats apparently look pretty good.

Google's got a lot of eggs in their search basket. Almost all of them, in fact. They would not invest so much time and money into this effort unless they believed it could create a great competitive product. And they would pull the plug immediately if it started to look like this change was sending users straight to their competitors.