Yes Donna, Google is overrated

Yes Donna, Google is overrated

Summary: Donna Bogatin is right -- Google is indeed overrated. In her Fast Company debate with Google apologist Danny Sullivan, Donna argues that the Mountain View based leviathan is not a "well-rounded" company.

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TOPICS: Google
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Donna Bogatin is right -- Google is indeed overrated. 

In her Fast Company debate with Google apologist Danny Sullivan, Donna argues that the Mountain View based leviathan is not a "well-rounded" company. Donna is being excessively polite here. The truth is that Google is as "unrounded" as a Roman road. Through a mixture of algorithmic brilliance and even more brilliant good fortune, the Google guys won the digital lottery with the phenomenal commercial success of their search engine. But, as Donna argues, search represents 99% of Google's revenues. That's a we-got-lucky-with-one-product company rather than a grown-up diversified business. Even Microsoft, having won an earlier version of the lottery (inside and outside the law courts), successfully diversified into areas outside its monopolistic operating system.

Donna  exposes the "democratic" illusion in which Google has veiled itself. Listening to Eric Schmidt these days, you'd think that Google was simultaneously committed to solving world economic inequality and providing free knowledge to the world's intellectually undernourished masses. But, as Donna notes, there is nothing "democratic" about its PageRank software which puts search advertisers in Google's "black box", thereby forcing its small business customers to "bid up their own ad rates." Is this democracy? More like plutocracy -- an unrounded plutocracy with all the cash flowing into the Googleplex's bulging coffers.

Where Donna is most convincing is in her exposure of Google's "unsustainable business model":

 "GOOG is fueled by an unsustainable business model: The selling of ads against content that it does not own, that it has not compensated IP owners for and that it has no explicit legal right to exploit commercially. The  "millions" of businesses and individuals "voluntarily" forking over their proprietary content and personal data to Google "every day," sell themselves and their assets short, while Google's market cap balloons."

 Exactly. The February 13, 2007 decision by a Belgian court to fine Google for violating Belgium's copyright laws, represents an important legal challenge to the way that Google unreasonably profits from the labor of traditional content creators. The truth about Google is that the behemoth owns nothing but the secret sauce of its own search engine algorithm. By caching links to news stories, the search engine is monetizing the physical content of newspapers, magazines and publishers and then not sharing this revenue with these content providers. Some would call this theft; others would describe it as smart business. But whatever you call it, such a legally ambivalent business model isn't sustainable for a company now with a market cap north of $150 billion. Google has been lucky to date. But I agree with Donna. Don't count on the Google guys indefinitely maintaining their Midas touch.

Topic: Google

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4 comments
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  • Google is broken

    Google is indeed very overrated. Compared to Microsoft Live Search, the Google's algoritm is very unstable and discriminates against content.Even more surprising is that the Google's Advanced Search by date is totally broken since a year or more.

    More details here:
    http://www.axisnova.com/articles/google-advanced-search-date-broken.shtml
    Jim Olsson
    • They sure have Microsoft looking over their shoulder

      That says something I suppose. Personally I can't stand what they've done with UseNet after they got their mitts all over it and "retooled" it. Looks like any other forum now, glossy but nowhere near as effective as the layout they had before. Nice going Googs, thanks for more polish to replace better and simpler structuring. Fisher-Price would be proud. Pffft

      I tell you, so few folks know how to leave a good thing alone, probably because they feel compelled to change things up to justify their paychecks and very existence. I'm amazed they haven't compromised the simplicity of search portal yet, to their credit. Yup, one more globalized institution bent on setting the world right, while lining their pockets to the max in the process.
      klumper
  • She didn't even lay a glove on him

    Gosh, where to start. It's late on a Friday, so I'll be brief:

    1. Calling Danny Sullivan an "apologist" for giving logical answers about Google is ridiculous.
    2. Of course it would be great if Google was more transparent, but silly to suggest they are "profiting at the expense of customers." Are these customers so stupid they can't see what's so clear to Donna? Who's suffering, except the dumb pipe phone and cable companies? (segue to net neutrality debate...)
    3. There certainly are questions that could have been raised -- click fraud, and the indexing of copyrighted material among htem -- but challenging Google's value prop by questioning the value of presenting offers when users are searching for specific products or services aint very persuasive.
    teknofin
  • Google is Rome...

    Google is Rome in the technological sphere. To be fair is is not a exclusive statement when considering other portals. Prometheus' disagreement w/ the gods may played to our advantage
    and given us a much more rewarding method of learning besides having to tediously trek to the library and do a little resource hunting which is no guarantee it will be available for your perusal much less to check out.

    yhoo/goog search "invest_mavin"
    'The World's Greatest Detective.'
    The Revolution Is Born!
    pm2075