Leveling the playing field with Google Authorship

I reckon it was around 1994 when I first recall paying attention to some charming news story about the advent of information technology and something called the internet. I wasn’t even a computer user at that time but it didn’t matter. I remember thinking, “this internet thing is going to finally make using computers the way it should be, like Star Trek!” Well almost, in the middle of a pitched battle with the klingons Kirk didn’t have to type his questions into the ships computer banks. Instead he just asked the computer for some friendly advice not unlike picking the brain of a trusted bartender or Whoopi Goldberg. Enjoying an advanced habitat for multitasking on the bridge Captain Kirk repeatedly turned to the computer for that crucial edge of information. The enterprise computer helped to extend Kirk’s command capabilities equipping him to be ready for anything The Play News!

Back then I remember being amazed at the evening news relentless nightly coverage. Magazines and newspapers were filled with stories hailing the arrival of a world wide web. This internet of computers was to offer endless possibilities for improving the human condition. I guess nothing drove home the importance of the story more than the international merry go round of support. The fervor was global and included positive endorsements from what could only be described as a who’s who of government and business from around the world with the possible exception of North Korea.

Fast forward 20 years and the advancements in speed and applications are starting to match or even surpass those Star Trek comparisons. The ability to crunch and move massive amounts of data in the blink of an eye are astounding. But has the promise of the web been fulfilled? Has the internet improved our standard of living? There is no doubt that technology entrepreneurs and those working in high tech fields have benefited. But borrowing a phrase from the early years of internet proselytizing, has it “leveled the playing field?”

Not quite, so further leveling is underway as demonstrated by Google Authorship. The rise of SEO (search engine optimization) as integral to the success of any website or blog has left many shouting foul. Gaming and exploiting the way search engines rank results has created an SEO industry which effectively acts as a digital toll booth. If you can’t afford $300 per hr. for good SEO you’re more likely to be SOL when it comes to achieving top search engine ranking.

Google Authorship is a way authors can link content with their Google+ profiles and image. So, what’s the big deal about that you might think? Well, maybe you’ve noticed faces appearing next to Google search results. It’s safe to assume, if for example; you have spent the last week researching widget X and kept seeing the same face appearing in Google search results you might be inclined to consider that person as somewhat an authority on the subject. Furthermore, seeing a human face associated with search results helps develop brand and trust for the content. You see where this is going right? How the Google algorithm selects and ranks authors is a closely held secret. What’s not secret is human psychology and how the addition of a human face can influence user interaction. Link your Google+ profile to the content you create.

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