December 21, 2011
Google+ Brand Pages Begin Appearing in Search Results
Back in the beginning of November I raised the spectre of Google using their undoubted market leadership in search to gain a foothold in the social networking market for Google +.
So it is with some alarm that Mashable report today that Google + brand pages are beginning to appear at the top of Google search listings. A search for AT&T for instance reveals the companies Google+ account near the top of the listings, well above the companies Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn presences.
By having the companies Google + account so prominently displayed in the Google search results it allows the company to easily display a regularly updated promotional message at the top of searches for their brand name.
At the moment AT&T appear to be one of a few brands to have received such a placing in the search listings. Toyota are another company to have enjoyed this perk however, alongside T-Mobile and Macy amongst others.
A Google rep offered the following statement about the search results: “Content from the +Page, such as recent posts, will appear as annotations attached to its associated web page under the sitelinks in search results if that site is eligible for Direct Connect. It uses the same bi-directional link and algorithmic criteria as Direct Connect.”
When I first spoke about this issue I compared Google to Microsoft in the 90′s, when they got into antitrust hot water for bundling Internet Explorer with their Windows operating system. At the time the US Justice Department hit Microsoft hard, saying that their monopoly position with Windows was used unfairly to knock Netscape out of the browser market.
With Google holding near monopoly status in the search engine market in many countries could the same be true with Google?
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