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Google finds a way to Index Facebook Connect Comments

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GoogleGoogle has found a way to index comments made on websites that use either a Facebook plug-in or another third party comment system. The announcement of this was made last night via a tweet that stated “Googlebot keeps getting smarter” It then went on to explain that it is now able to execute AJAX/JS to index dynamic content.  This means that while the Google bot is crawling all over your favorite website and looking at what you are reading it can also crawl through your comments even if there are through Facebook.

Many sites have started using Facebook connect to make it easy for people to share and comment on articles. It makes sense after all; most sites have a Facebook page (we do of course) and most readers have one as well, so why not let someone log-in using Facebook instead of having to remember another username and password. It is also good for website owners as people are often less likely to make “rude” comments if it is tied to their Facebook profile.

The problem (well not really a “problem”) comes from losing out on some of the hits you might get from searches like Google or Bing. When you use these third party services for comments they are not really on your webpage but are rendered there by the plug in you use. By incorporating the AJAX commands Google can now dive into these linked comments and index them for search. This has the potential to replace the hours of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) work that web developers use to have to do to make up for this. So for web site developers and owners it is a great thing. For Google it is a great thing, the question is…. Is it a good thing for the average user?

You will no doubt hear that this is an invasion of personal privacy and that Google is up to its old tricks. As much as I dislike Google and think that they have little or no respect for people’s privacy, this time I have to say this is pretty much harmless. If you think about it anyone that frequents a website you comment on can see the name of your Facebook profile and if they wanted they can find you on Facebook. It does not take any type of rocket science to do this; Google indexing these comments is not going to make it any easier.

If you are worries about this I would suggest that you set your profile security so that your wall can only be viewed by people you have friended and not worry about it; after all almost everything that is posted or published to the web is crawled over by web bots. If the Internet was a house and the bots were bugs, it would be in serious need of an exterminator.

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Last modified on Friday, 04 November 2011 21:50
Sean Kalinich

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