Why Social Search will be Google’s Greatest Downfall

by Marcus Sheridan

This is one of those articles that most folks in the world of search marketing and social media likely won’t agree with. They’ll call me foolish, or naïve, or just plain dumb—but it’s on my mind so let me just come right out and say it:

I think social search stinks.

I think Google +, because of its integration with search, is going to be the beginning of the end for what is Google’s search engine domination.

Yeah, that’s right, the one-party system that we currently have in the world of search engines (Sorry Yahoo and Bing, but you guys clearly ain’t cutting it and thus don’t count) will soon open its doors to a new world that isn’t owned, operated, and dominated by “The Big G”.

You may be wondering what the heck I’m talking about here, but my thoughts are actually very simple. Here’s the deal:

I like my friends. I really do. But I don’t like seeing them in my Google search results.

If I want to know how they feel, I’ll ask them.

If I want to know what they think, I’ll ask them.

Maybe I’ll got to Twitter, or Facebook, or G+ and ask an open question.

But when I go to Google (or any search engine) and slap a few words in that little search box of theirs, I want the best, most relevant results this world has to offer me.

I don’t want to read the same opinions of the same people over and over again.

I want random.

I want a mix.

I want to hear what some guy in the middle of Tim-Buk-Tu said because he’s the brightest mind in the world on that subject, even though I’ve never heard of the dude in my life.

And before you say, “But Marcus ya big dummy, you can take social search out of Google’s search results,” let me just say I already know that.

But it’s not my point.

If I want to be social, I’ll go social.

If I want to search, then allow me to search—and allow me to do it privately.

And do you know what? I’m not alone. Yep, there are other weirdos in this world just like me that don’t want their search results littered with stuff some guy they’ve never really met in real life decided to +1.

It’s also because of these weirdos that other search engines are popping up that are the anti-Google, not only on a “social” level, but they also understand what the world “privacy” means.

Take for example Duck Duck Go. I was introduced to this site when I was speaking with Jay Baer and Eric Boggs on the Social Pros Podcast, but let me tell you, these folks at Duck Duck Go are on to something. Just take a look at their “about” page, it sums up what they’re all about perfectly:


Relevant results, less clutter, and more privacy...Hmmm, not a bad idea!

For example, let’s say you do a search at Duck-Duck-Go on the phrase “Content Marketing.” By so doing, you get a quick definition at the top of the page, then results– and lots of them. In fact, the first page of results goes on and on and on.

Just good, old fashioned content

No faces.

No clutter.

No freaky privacy issues 99% of the world doesn’t even know about.

Just good old fashioned content and relevant results.

Me likey.

Is the style of Duck Duck Go for everyone? No, certainly not, but make no mistake about it—the social trend is not everyone’s cup of tea. Nor is Google’s concern for your privacy.

What’s this all mean?

I’m not quite sure, but I certainly do feel the future of search will at some point be a legitimate two-party system(or more), it’s really only a matter of time. And it may come a lot sooner that you and I think.

Your Turn

What’s your take on Google’s new social search features? Do you think this, along with their privacy policies, will open the door to other search engines or do you feel we’re going to be looking at a one-party search engine system for a long, long time?

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