It's Friday: The Week in Search
Google and Twitter were the big winners (or losers) of this week's search marketing news. Here are the highlights:
Twitter Creates More Problems By Eliminating One
It all started with a Tuesday blog post titled "Small Settings Update." The post casually mentioned that Twitter was eliminating the option to see replies from a friend sent to someone that you don't follow. Though they claimed this change was based on "usage patterns and feedback," the outrage that ensued made that statement questionable. Before you knew it, tweets including "#fixreplies" were spreading like wildfire.
My favorite post on this topic is by Tech Crunch's MG Siegler as he breaks down Twitter's disastrous 24 Hours. It starts off with the million dollar question: Why remove an option? Twitter gave people the choice to decide if they wanted to see these replies or not, and if so, they simply changed their settings to allow this. Yes, that's right--it wasn't even the default option! So why the change?
Oh wait, the next morning, as Twitter's head honchos were sifting through public outrage, someone reminded the decision makers that the change was based also on technical issues. In Biz' own words, "The engineering team reminded me that there were serious technical reasons why that setting had to go or be entirely rebuilt—it wouldn't have lasted long even if we thought it was the best thing ever."
Really, Biz? That's just silly. It took you a full 24 hours to remember why you changed something because you were so convinced that this is what your users wanted? Go ahead and admit that you made the change for scaling purposes and didn't realize how important the option was; you didn't realize that people used it to be introduced to interesting friends of their friends, one of the biggest benefits of Twitter.
Shortly thereafter, Twitter announced that they were changing things back... kindof... Summed up perfectly by "@glenngabe: KISS Fail You Can Now See Twitter Replies Sometimes, Except When You Can’t. Huh?" To me, it seems the lesson here is honesty: If you're honest about a change to begin with, people will probably still be upset, but they will probably respect you for telling them the truth.
Google Launces New Stuff
Especially amidst talk of a possible monopoly violation, the timing seems perfect for Google to make updates and improvements to their product, mainly search. We wrote about the changes here, addressing new dealings with microformats, rich text, and search options. Search Engine Land has a great post detailing the changes to search and what this all means, especially as you'll start to see star ratings and reviews as well as improved people search in SERPs.
In addition to search changes, Google has made it easier than ever to switch from your current email provider over to gmail. They introduced the ability to allow users to import email archives and contacts into a newly formed gmail account with a couple clicks of the mouse, essentially eliminating one of the biggest boundaries to switching email providers. Pause for collective groan from hotmail, yahoo, etc.