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Google Wants to Dominate Social Media Too

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Google apparently wants to dominate the social media as well as search, ads, the airwaves and, well, the world as we know it.

I mentioned in my recent post Is Google’s Master Plan to Dominate Google SERPs? that it appears that in order to do well in the Google rankings, you’ll need to join the Google "social network" of sites. Considering Google’s force feeding of Universal and Personalized Search to the unsuspecting masses, your pictures, videos, news, maps, HTML pages and so forth stand a much better chance of ranking well if they are part of the Google network of sites like YouTube.com, Google News, etc.

Unfortunately, Google’s getting off to a rocky start with their continued drive to social media dominance. Take their latest, uh, innovation. Google recently rolled out a feature that allows Google Reader users to share what they’ve been reading with friends. Here’s what you see in a pop-up window when you first log into Google Reader:

Toolbar for sharing posts in Google Reader

That’s scary. This pop-up even makes it look like sharing is turned on automatically.

Naturally, since Google assumed everyone you talk to on Google Talk is a friend, they automatically assumed you wanted to share your Google Reader discoveries with all of your friends. All your communications on Google Talk is between friends, right?

Wrong! For example, what if you’re considering a divorce and you’ve been reading a lot of "How to get a divorce without really trying" content lately. You share it so that your attorney can read it. But, wait! Your wife is in your Google Talk list, too. Oops!

The problem with Google’s roll out of this "feature" is that there was no opt-in involved. They just assumed you WANT everyone you know in Google Talk to share your discoveries.

Google does a LOT of assuming. They rolled out Personalized Search assuming we want them to assume we’re looking for the same stuff over and over so they’ll dish that same frequently searched for stuff out at the top of our personalized results.

Google assumes it’s OK to track searches for marketing purposes. The problem with that assumption is that the vast majority of searchers don’t even know they are being tracked. Can we assume that Google is going to tell them?

Clearly, they blew it on this one.

Yes, you can click Share and Unshare on the toolbar at the bottom of each post (see below).

Toolbar for sharing posts in Google Reader

Problem is, that will share the post with EVERYBODY in your Google Talk list.

Can we assume Google will get the message and will make sharing more selective and opt-in? ;-)

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