Google Removes Social Circle Data

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?

Bas van den Beld

About Bas van den Beld

Bas van den Beld is an award winning Digital Marketing consultant, trainer and speaker. He is the founder of State of Digital and helps companies develop solid marketing strategies.

21 thoughts on “Google Removes Social Circle Data

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

  2. 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).

  3. 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

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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 ? 

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