Google Social Search is still missing Facebook

Google Social Search is still missing Facebook

Summary: Google has integrated Social Search into its search results. Facebook, the world's biggest social network, was not included.


Google announced Google Social Search in October 2009. Today, the company integrated it with its standard search results.

The integration means users can get even more information from the people they have connected to publicly on their Google profile, or privately in their Google Account. This includes whether they're publishing on YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, LinkedIn, as well as their own blog. Although Google has expanded this list since the feature's launch, Facebook is still missing.

It's almost laughable that Google isn't including Facebook in its social feature. After all, the service is used by some 600 million users.

Contrast this with Microsoft's announcement of a new version of the Bing Bar today. Facebook was the only social network that was added to the toolbar.

Microsoft simply has a much better relationship with Facebook than Google does. In fact, Facebook and Google have a history of fighting each other rather than working together as the two encroach on each other's Internet turf.

Three months ago, Google banned Facebook from accessing Gmail contact data by tweaking its the Terms of Service for its Google Contacts Data API so that websites which access Google Contacts needed to offer access to their data too. Facebook has never allowed users to export their contact information.

The social network still wanted its new users to find out whether their Gmail contacts also have Facebook accounts, so it implemented a workaround that told new users to use a Google feature that helped them download their own data, and then instructed them to upload the file back to Facebook. Google countered by displaying a huge warning when new Facebook users came to export their contact data from Gmail.

The Facebook-Google data reciprocity war ended with Facebook completely removing Gmail contact importing from its list of third party e-mail providers on the "Find Friends" page. The real loser was neither Facebook nor Google (although both ended up suffering), it was the end user.

Let's tie this back in to today's announcement: the two companies are hurting each other by not working together on social search. Sure, Bing is doing a lot with Facebook integration, but the majority of Internet users do not use Bing; they use Google.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Google

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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  • Social Search Stakes

    The stakes of these search limitations are high, but ultimately, Bing can search Facebook, Google searches other social media.
    Bing imports/Learns Google search results.
    So - if people use Google in I.E. with a Bing toolbar, or if they search with Bing from Chrome... I'd say that data is being collected on everything. Given that social media obliterates privacy to start with, soon there will be very very little competitive advantage in any search, of anything, anywhere, via any search engine/provider.

    There was a time when corporate mining of data was illustrated by a parable of beer and diapers. Now corporations can mine ANY of Jeremiah Owyang's "Seven Elements of Customer data." Behavioral, product, demographics, Psychographic, Referral, Location, and even Intention.

    The stakes are high. The value of all this data is pretty unlimited. It is easy to understand why Google, Facebook, and everyone else wants to control it. Given the ways in which each company pulls information from each other company, and the artificial silos of information that they attempt to create within their product/categories... I don't think any of these companies are really hurting each other. They are just hurting the customers/consumers/companies/advertisers and others that produce quarterly profits for them.
  • RE: Google Social Search is still missing Facebook

    It's not so much that Google wants to control it. They just want to make it accessible. Facebook only wants to make their information accessible if money is involved. Google feels that a user's information is their own, to do with as they please. Facebook believes that the user's information is Facebook's since the user gave it to them willingly.

    I side with Google more on this issue, since I believe users should be completely in control of their own information, no matter where they choose to host this information.

    Bing is doing business with the corporate information regime (Facebook) because they're willing to join forces with anyone and everything, even the Dark Side, to compete with Google.

    Google is unwilling to bend their principles simply because many people are on Facebook.

    So, Google changed their policy such that another entity can only use API's to automatically extract user information *IF* that entity also allows user information to be automatically extracted in kind. Facebook, again, refuses to give up anything (unless money is involved), so the battle over information began.

    Yes, in the end, users lose out... but make no mistake that it is Facebook that is behind this loss to users. Sure, Google could "play the game" and hand over money to Facebook for the right to work with user information, but then they'd be agreeing with the principle that it was never the user's information to begin with. I'd rather they stick with this principle than sell out like Bing has.

    If I want to share my Facebook data automatically with Google, I should be allowed to make that choice, not simply wait around and hope that Facebook does something right by the users for once.

    Consider the fact that Google can search across many many other social networks' information, with the big exception being Facebook, and you'll see how Facebook is the stubborn one here.
  • Facebook is better off without Google's creepy social search

    Bing is a better search engine and they don't have a history of stealing users' private data like Google.
  • RE: Google Social Search is still missing Facebook

    I love Google, really I do. But this is ridiculous. Google is coming off as a control freak and indeed, the users are the ones losing out in the end. And by the way, Bing is NOT a better search engine. Any success Bing has is due to riding the coat tails of Google.

    Nan King
    <a target="_new" href="">Email Marketing Company</a>