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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.

22 Responses to “Google Removes Social Circle Data”

  1. [...] Google Removes Social Circle Data, State of Search [...]

  2. [...] There is no announcement and you can still find the search result, but the… Continued at: http://www.stateofdigital.com/google-social-circle-data/ Any thoughts on this? __________________ Newbiz Advertising – An Excellent Link Building and [...]

  3. [...] Un piccolo aggiornamento relativo a questo argomento: http://www.stateofdigital.com/google-social-circle-data/ Giorgio Taverniti Blog – Il mio account Twitter! | Google Plus Che aspetti? Diventa [...]

  4. [...] Google Removes Social Circle Data, State of Search [...]

  5. Miguel Silva Rodrigues says:

    Indeed the social contacts information is gone, also from the Google Dashboard that’s displayed in Account settings

  6. brandonfritz says:

    Why are we still surprised when Google does things like this?

  7. daveintheuk says:

    Awful move by Google. Presumably they are worried that people will realise just what a grubby, creepy game they are playing with scraped data (used to serve adverts over scraped content).

  8. Sha Menz says:

    On current form, if the data is to reappear it would be wrapped into Google+. Personal Ripples perhaps? 

  9. sarmista says:

    Hi Bas Van Den Beld,
    Thanks for sharing this post !
    This step taken by Google will be really useful.Google may be removing the data to prevent the privacy issues.

    Thanks again
    Regards

  10. Barry Adams says:

    Google Giveth, and Google Ta-…. actually no, Google doesn’t ‘giveth’ any more. It’s all take, take take.

  11. James Arturo says:

    Did it only show the data for your g+ account or also the one on your other social profiles?

  12. Let’s make it clear, Google’s business is to take data from
    you in any way possible in order to profit from it. Those who think that their
    products are free should think again, you are actually paying them with your
    own personal information. How Google uses this data is completely up to them.

  13. [...] Social networks should be open, unless they are Google+. [...]

  14. [...] Social networks should be open, unless they are Google+. [...]

  15. [...] Social networks should be open, unless they are Google+. [...]

  16. Really this is amazing act from Google and I hope to see some more in SEO very soon.

  17. I’m not sure it is a privacy issue, necessarily, as you could only see your social circle data when you were logged into your account.

  18. geek2live says:

    Has anyone noticed that the previous “social” option that on left sidebar in Google search result page also has been removed along with social circle data ? 

  19. [...] Social networks should be open, unless they are Google+. [...]

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