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Former Google Exec : Social networks are killing Google search

Former Google executive Stafford Masie (@staffordmasie) believes that traditional search is dying because users are choosing to query their friends and followers on services like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. This in an interview with Emil Protalinski (@EmilProtalinski) of ZD Net.

It’s not that Google is dead, it’s just that many people are turning to social networks to find what they’ve historically found on Google. Per Massie:

The pie of search query volumes in the world – that business is shrinking. Why? Because people are going and doing search queries – search query volumes are moving towards social containers. They’re moving away from static pages being searched and they’re moving more towards dynamic real-time stream content. Like Twitter. Like Tumblr. Like Facebook. Those things have a better result because the penetration, the personalization associated with it, and the constant freshness of the content. So I believe that Google’s search volume – the business Google is in on the search side – that business is shrinking. And they’ve got to do something about it.

From Protalinski:

It’s not that traditional search is not valuable or that consumers aren’t using it anymore, Masie just thinks it won’t be around in the future. He argues that this is why Google is so insistent on winning at social, why it launched Google+, and why it is now augmenting its search results with its social network.

I don’t think search will ever be replaced by social networks, but I do believe the search engine will decrease in importance. Instead, search and social will continue to gradually come closer and closer together.

I wrote yesterday that the history of the web has moved from portals to search to social. I questioned whether legal publishers could adapt to open-social publication and curation from their current business models.

Attorneys and law firms need to ask themselves what they are doing to move on from a ‘Google search world’ to a social world.

Attorneys get their best work via word of mouth and a strong reputation, both built through relationships. Relationships built through social interactions.

The Internet doesn’t change that. Attorneys just need to understand how to use social networks and social media (blogging, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ etc) to build relationships so as to build a strong word of mouth reputation.

Sophisticated people looking for a lawyer turn to people they trust. Today, relationships of trust for many people are established via social networks.

That’s why it’s so critical that good attorneys learn how to personally use social networks and social media. Search is not going to cut it.

Here’s an audio from Stafford Massie’s interview.

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