A while ago, Wired Magazine declared the web dead… the premise was that we are increasingly navigating the online world through Apps which deliver exactly what we want rather than the messy, spammy, and sometimes slow traditional online world. That was no doubt an exaggeration, albeit an entertaining one. It does point to a key factor that more and more content and data is locked behind the walled gardens of Apps, and thus not visible to searchers outside those Apps. Whilst it’s possible for app developers to expose content to search engines, most don’t and it’s getting to be a problem for both searchers and the search engines themselves. It’s clearly an issue, which is causing Google to loose sleep at night, and there are signs this week that this may be changing.
Google announced, at the TechCrunch conference yesterday, that it is integrating with an initial handful of large content sites so that when app users open the app, they are invited to log in with their Google+ account. That then allows Google to index data about the users behavior, which can then be exposed to searchers through regular Google search. In theory, searches for movies would get data on trending films from Fandango or music on SoundCloud. It’s an interesting idea; Google is essentially harvesting data and content from the walled gardens by collecting activity in those gardens from Google+ users. Google+ has been accused of being a social media platform without a reason to exist… and this, in part, at least contributes to it’s reason to exist. Logically this will become more compelling as it rolls out to a much larger fraction of the millions of Aps out there. If it’s easily available, app developers are likely to include it and we will all benefit… we will see.