It appears Google is taking over the internet. We all knew it would happen eventually, but with the addition of its new Google plus Your World algorithm, it seems to be attempting to slowly phase out other social sites.
Search Engine Land performed first-hand research on how Google's new search results - which integrate Google Plus pages, photos and videos into organic results - affect the way people are found and how marketers reach an audience.
For instance, author Danny Sullivan performed a sample search of the term "music," which revealed a new box on the right side of Google's search results that takes up a fair amount of real estate. The "People and Pages on Google Plus" area showed singers with Google Plus accounts, such as Britney Spears, Snoop Dogg and Mariah Carey.
Now, Spears also has a Facebook page and Twitter account, but nowhere on Google's results does it provide a link or even a mention these two other popular social media networks.
So, is Google attempting a monopoly here?
The Los Angeles Times reported earlier this month that privacy watchdog group the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) intends to file a complaint with the United States Federal Trade Commission to voice its concerns about Google's favoritism.
"Although data from a user’s Google Plus contacts is not displayed publicly, Google's changes make the personal data of users more accessible," said EPIC executive director Marc Rotenberg, as quoted by the Times. "Google is an entrenched player trying to fight off its challenger Facebook by using its market dominance in a separate sector. I think that should trouble people."
The new algorithm affects the "one-in-four people" who are typically logged into Google or Google Plus while browsing the web. While the move is unlikely to have an immediate effect on the hierarchy of social networks - Facebook's 800 million users handily trump Google Plus' 40 million - it may eventually level the playing field, or even tip it in Google's direction over time.
Search Engine Land also found that if your brand doesn't currently have a Google Plus page, it will become less relevant to users. Another example performed by Sullivan, searching for the term "cars," saw that companies with Google Plus accounts - such as Ferrari, Toyota and Nissan - were suggested on the right-hand side of the search results page
Bottom line? Get on Google Plus or become irrelevant, it seems.