The Next Google+?
Search engines have a lot of power in the modern world. While Donald Trump’s claims of a ‘media conspiracy’ to try and keep him out of the presidency were probably extreme, it doesn’t mean that one couldn’t have existed. Google has a 70% market share of search traffic in the US and with that comes a great deal of responsibility. Many people use Google’s search results as their news feed, typing in an event or occasion, or even using Google News, to find out what is going on in the world.
Obviously, Google has power over which sites rank where and what information shows. Until now Google has been very clear about their wish to remain impartial. Google is seen as a kind of neutral (or as neutral as any multinational corporation can be) message board where anyone can share their news. However, with the announcement of Google Posts, this could change.
Posts by Google looks like it’s designed as Google’s next attempt to grab a chunk of the social media market. The platform, in many ways similar to LinkedIn’s Pulse, is a way of publishing content through Google, that will then show in Google’s search results.
The Politics of Google Posts
The logic behind the idea is clear, Google will be able to approve and vet content, and then promote the highest quality work to the top of the SERP. Then searchers will stay longer in the Google ecosystem and can presumably be exposed to more advertising, or leave more breadcrumbs behind about their interests.
However, another view of Google posts is that it now gives Google an explicit editorial voice. After years of curating the conversation, they’re now going to be joining it themselves. To date, any published Google Post is essentially given Google’s seal of approval.
Only time will tell if we’ll get Google opinions on events like the Presidential Election or Net Neutrality. Perhaps the platform will censor or not publish any content that has a political leaning. Or, if it publishes one side of the story, perhaps they will offer balance by publishing the opposing viewpoint. Regardless, it will be difficult to remain impartial as soon as content starts being published with their name on it.
What does this mean for Google’s future? Who knows. If Google Posts proves as popular as Google+, probably not much…
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