Google+ rivals create 'Don't Be Evil' add-on

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Engineers from Facebook, Twitter and MySpace have created a browser add-on that they say cancels the effects of Google's bias towards Google+ results.

And, they say, it gives the lie to Google's claim that it can't give equal prominence to other social networks because it lacks the necessary data.

The Don't Be Evil 'bookmarklet' integrates more social networks and, say its developers, shows the same results Google would if it relied on its own algorithm without the bias introduced by the recently-introduced Google Search Plus Your World.

"When you search for 'cooking' today, Google decides that renowned chef Jamie Oliver is a relevant social result. That makes sense. But rather than linking to Jamie's Twitter profile, which is updated daily, Google links to his Google+ profile, which was last updated nearly two months ago. Is Google's relevance algorithm simply misguided?," say the developers.

"No. If you search Google for Jamie Oliver directly, his Twitter profile is the first social result that appears. His abandoned Google+ profile doesn't even appear on the first page of results. When Google's engineers are allowed to focus purely on relevancy, they get it right."

Don't Be Evil, they explain, looks at the places where Google only shows Google+ results, and then 'Googles Google' to see if there's a more relevant result.

Interestingly, the plug-in appears to at least partly negate Google's claims that it can't integrate results from other social networks because it doesn't have deals with them that would allow it to access the necessary information.

"This is clearly not true," the developers say. "The bookmarklet never accesses any server or API outside of google.com. The information has already been indexed and ranked by Google."

Don't Be Evil works in Chrome, Firefox and Safari, and has been released under an open-source license to make it easy to turn into a browser extension. It's available here.