NEW YORK (
new search algorithm
-- which heavily promotes results from its Google+ social network -- rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, with some critics arguing that the company is using its stranglehold on the search business to promote its other products. Now a group of developers from competing companies are aiming to take Google down a notch and make social search results a bit more relevant in the process.
They're doing so through a tool called "Don't Be Evil," a clear reference to Google's famous (and, some say, oft-violated) unofficial mantra. Installing the tool on a Web browser makes it so Google searches using the default "social search" option now prioritize results from other social networks such as
in addition to Google+.
To get the tool, visit
and follow the simple instructions to add the "bookmarklet" to your browser's bookmarks toolbar. Then, the next time you do a "social search," click the button to deliver the full range of social media results.
The tool looks at the three places where Google only shows Google+ results and then automatically googles Google to see if Google finds a result more relevant than Google+," explain the developers behind the tool.
I found the tool to work like a charm: When I searched for my name using the default search option, the top result was my rarely used Google+ page (along with an exhortation from Google to complete my profile). Upon clicking the bookmarklet, though, it was replaced by more relevant links to my Twitter page. (Alas, my name is too common to deliver my Facebook page as a top result.)
As the Web site explains, the tool was created by engineers at Facebook, Twitter and
, all of whom are clearly a bit miffed that Google is using its search dominance in a way that minimizes the significance of their own social networks. In that sense, it's as much a political statement as it is a piece of software. We're curious to see if Google will get the message and give the established social networks the credit they deserve -- and give its users the relevant results that they've come to expect.
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