Focus On The User: Facebook, Twitter & Myspace’s Version Of GoogleBy: Chris Crum - January 23, 2012
Facebook Director of Product Blake Ross has created a bookmarklet that people can add to their web browsers to take the “Search Plus Your World” out of their Google search results. Granted, Google has its own toggle to turn the feature on and off from the search results page, but this goes further.
First, here’s a video about it:
On FocusOnTheUser.org, where you can get the bookmarklet, it says, “This proof of concept was built by some engineers at Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, in consultation with several other social networking companies. We are open-sourcing the code so that anyone may use it or make it even better.”
John Battelle has a bit more of the story, however, after visiting Facebook’s offices. He talked to Ross, who is one of the creators of Firefox. Battelle writes, “It was a simple hack, he said, some code he had thrown together in response to the whole Google+ tempest.”
“After Blake showed me his work, we had a lively discussion about the implications of Facebook actually releasing such a tool,” writes Battelle. “I mean, it’s one thing for a lone hacktivist to do this, it’s quite another for a member of the Internet Big Five to publicly call Google out. Facebook would need to vet this with legal, with management (this clearly had to pass muster with Mark Zuckerberg), and, I was told, Facebook wanted to reach out to others – such as Twitter – and get their input as well.”
Apparently that strategy went through, since Twitter and MySpace are also getting some credit.
The bookmarket actually says “Don’t Be Evil,” a reference to Google’s proclaimed philosophy.
An interesting snippet from the FAQ page at FocusOnTheUser.org:
Q: I thought Google needed a deal and more info from social sites to integrate them into its new social features?
A: This is clearly not true. The bookmarklet never accesses any server or API outside of google.com. The information has already been indexed and ranked by Google.
Do you think the bookmarklet makes Google’s results better? Better than Google’s own toggle? Let us know what you think in the comments.