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Your Google + Profile: Passport To…Everything?

Posted in Digital Marketing — February 9, 2012

As originally posted on our Big Daylight division blog, here’s a thrilling tale of Google supremacy.

Like all the best horror stories, the import of particular events doesn’t always strike the reader until later.  Seemingly small, localized tragedies snowball into global catastrophes.  Nobody saw the disaster coming, save for an unheeded few.  Nobody listened…until it was too late.  Oh, the humanity!

This could be one of those stories.

Or, maybe the information I’m about the convey holds no import whatever. It’s meaningless in the grand scope of things.  It’s akin to the Mayan calendar or future predictions from that preacher (aka “The Wrongest Man in the World”) who prophesied the apocalypse three times (so far).  Fool me once and I sell all my stuff and move into a compound (shame on you!).  Fool me twice and I sell all the stuff that I’ve been able to buy since the last time I sold all my stuff (because, you know – apocalypse!) and move into a compound (shame on me!).  Fool me three times and, well, we don’t even have a pat response for that.

Back to our story…

The set up: I’m investigating occurrences of schema.org microdata in the wild, seeing the differences between results in the SERPs, running pages through Google’s Rich Snippets Testing Tool, etc.

Then (we hear a single sustained and dramatic note, minor key, scratchy, suspenseful; it’s joined by other discordant notes, increasing in volume)…I found this (in the Google Rich Snippets page test results):

Google Author Example

(Crescendo, then sudden eerie quiet.)

See what freaks me out, here?  Google’s fine with the author profile page, in that it understands that this person is an author.  Google’s not fine with that page not linking to a Google + profile.  In fact, they’re calling that lack of a link an error, meaning that if you want to be considered an online author, at least one Google recognizes as such, you better have a Google + profile.  Sure, you could say that it doesn’t really mean you have to have a profile.  They’re not explicitly saying that, are they?  But there’s all that red text.  And that word: “error.”  We all know Google’s modus operandi with what they consider errors: isolate them, banish them to the far realms of the search landscape, then tell everyone it’s only going to affect 1% of all web users.

Put this together with Search Plus Your World and Encrypted Search. You’d think that Google’s trying to own the Internet and everyone on it. Or more.

Oh, the humanity indeed.

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