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Google Removes Social Circle Data

22 June 2012 BY

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Google Search Plus Your World is all about social data. Many things Google does in social is aimed at getting information from you so they can build up your profile and return you search results and other related information which is personalised for you, based on your social graph.

To do that Google needs to know your social graph. It needs to know how you connect to entities and to other people. In some of my presentations I showed some of what Google knew of you because Google gave that information away, for free. Now it seems to have pulled the social circle data. There is no announcement and you can still find the search result, but the page itself gives a 404.

What did Google show us?

Until recently you could find your social circle data on Google itself. If you do a search for “Google Social Circle” for example you will find this result:

If you would click on the link you would be taken to a page which would show your connections, how Google thought you were connected to them and how they are connected to others and entities. For example this is part of what they showed me (public data!) from Danny Sullivan:

As you can see it gives information about the sites he is connected to and the data he has shared across the web. It would give you a nice insight into your social profile.

But now…

But if you click on the first link now there is no data, there is only a 404 page:

What happened?

It seems as if Google has taken the data offline. At first it seemed as if they had moved it, but other urls give the same 404. Google has really removed the data. At least, they have made it ‘invisible’ for us.

Why? Is Google afraid of privacy questions about this? Are they moving the data somewhere else? And why does the result still show up in the search result? Is it just a mistake? A lot of questions pop up here. And no answers just yet. Let’s wait and see if it returns, but my guess is that Google is silently removing this to prevent any privacy issues. But who knows. What are your thoughts?

AUTHORED BY:
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Bas van den Beld is a speaker, trainer and online marketing strategist. Bas is the founder of Stateofdigital.com. -- You can hire Bas to speak, train or consult.
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