When I first read that Google now plans to index Facebook comments so that they will now appear in search results, I thought to myself, “Welp, that’s it. I’m done with Facebook.”
Then I realized, that’s EXACTLY what Google wants me to do.
By announcing that they will begin crawling and indexing Facebook comments, Google has taken the shrewd step of deliberately (but legally) exacerbating the one thing about which Facebook users are most wary: privacy concerns. While Google makes clear that they will only crawl comments on public Facebook “pages” and apps, and not on private user pages, I am still left confused as to whether comments on a “user page” that is visible to the public will be indexed.
Of course, the answer doesn’t really matter. All that matters is that with this simple action, Google will introduce enough additional doubt and fear into the minds of Facebook users (who are already suspicious of privacy measures due to “upgrade fatigue” from Facebook’s seemingly monthly changes to its functionality and user interface), that they will leave Facebook for something else.
And, because the recently introduced Google+ is now a viable alternative with a greater ease of use and superior graphics (now that Facebook has become nearly as painful to the eyes as MySpace once was), more and more Facebookers will be flocking to Google+, where I am guessing public and private comments will not be indexed and available for search.
It may be cutthroat, but it’s also genius, and may be just the thing Facebook needs to get it to stop selling out its existing users in the name of expanding its user base.