Google is at your service

Google is at your service

Summary: Most everything Google does is given away, yet it makes a ton of money. That's the open source principle in action. The reason it makes money is that it gives great value for time, and that's what credibility comes down to -- value for time.

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TOPICS: Google, Open Source
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Blacky, my dog, by Dana BlankenhornIf you want a friend get a dog. (Blacky has been one of my dogs since 1996.)

Google is not your friend.

On the other hand Google is not an evil neighbor , either. 

Google really doesn't know you from Adam's Off Ox, as Bill Clinton once said.

We're confusing love with credibility, emotions with business.

Google is a service, it is at your service, just as ZDNet is at your service. Google's value is measured by the credibility you give that service, again just like ZDNet.

What has changed in this decade is that every business, not just every journalism enterprise, has a credibility account. It's a measure of trust, of believability, of faith in a business sense.

I was taught this on my first day of journalism school, although I already knew it, because I had been a publisher, radio voice, and editor starting in ninth grade.

I have not always followed this lesson as well as I might. I have made mistakes, gotten things wrong, offered grand generalizations that were not precisely true.

Each mistake hit me in the credibility.

Without them I might be talking to Katie Couric right now instead of you lot (not that I mind you lot -- I treasure the opportunity ZDNet has given me.) It's just that the difference between the TV anchor chair and the one in my office is credibility.

It has become my favorite quote. Credibility is the coin of the realm.

What Google has proven is that this concept of credibility can be monetized to an extreme degree in the world of the Internet.

Most everything Google does is given away, yet it makes a ton of money. That's the open source principle in action. The reason it makes money is that it gives great value for time, and that's what credibility comes down to -- value for time.

People like Chris Dawson trust the tools and resources Google offers his students, which was his point at ZDNet Education. People like Michael Krigsman are skeptical of what Google does with data about them, as he notes at IT Project Failures.

Both are measuring credibility, which is the key to success online and the key to success in open source. Dawson is touting it, Krigsman chipping away at it. Their views, your views, all our views add up to Google's credibility, which its daily actions can add to or subtract from.

My point is it's all the same thing. What we control as journalists, what you control as a businessperson, what Google has built into an empire, is all the same thing.

George Shultz, Hoover Institution Fellow 2008It is as George Shultz (left) said. Trust is the coin of the realm. Notice the change in that quote. It's something I learned about while writing this post.

When I first quoted Schultz in 1999 I wrote "credibility is the coin of the realm," which I just learned others have since quoted behind my own name, sometimes spelling it wrong in the process.

Fortunately Google has now corrected me. It's a credible service.

Topics: Google, Open Source

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8 comments
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  • We're not too clear on how an ISP works

    I construct my web site then upload it to Google?Google holds every article,blog and comment entry forever?Google replaces my browser with theirs---
    BALTHOR
  • Credibility is a trait that must be earned

    Has Google earned that? To a very small degree, yes they have earned some, but let us not mistake credibility for benevolence.

    I am sure there are many credible witnesses to a murder or auto accident that will not disclose that they actively participate in the sale of drugs to school children on the weekends. That is why we automatically label them credible, as we do not see what lurks below the surface, or know what their actual motives are for coming forward.

    There is a point in which faith is applied, faith that you are seeing everything they are.
    That faith should not be used as a measure of their integrity or credibility but as a starting point with a healthy dose of skepticism on the side.

    That is the part in which Google has publicly come up short on: what do you do with our data that you store?

    they will earn their credibility when they can prove that to us.
    GuidingLight
  • Dana, some good points. Open Source is a BIG reason why Google can offer

    this all for free. The pittance that they earn per person on advertising is still enough to pay for the service because of open source, AND of course the delivery model. Really Google has changed the game, and even if Google funded this 100% on fees, the fees would not be much. By the way, you CAN pay $50 per year for the premium version of Google Aps, though not sure if they will then turn off targeted advertising. I for one do not mind the targeted advertising.
    DonnieBoy
    • Crumbs

      One of my "favorite" scenes in the recent Wall Street meltdown was then Rick Santelli, CNBC's debt reporter, referred to what traders made as "crumbs," and even referenced that to Tom Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities."

      That's what Google lives on. Crumbs that drop from the table.

      My wife's employer does much the same thing. They do credit card transaction processing. She likes the fact that her programs "do something." Even though they just make 3 cents per use, it adds up.
      DanaBlankenhorn
    • What 'pittance' would that be?

      Do you have any clue how much Google makes PER CLICK? Try buying some AdWords sometime.

      Certain keywords in certain markets can demand over $50 PER CLICK. These days, there are very few keywords less than $.50 per click.

      Google started out honestly enough -- with 1 cent per click keywords -- but greed kicked in and now the small advertisers can't even afford to use Google.
      Marty R. Milette
  • great article

    Goes back to the old adage: "Man is only as good as his word"
    hamobu-22333136139518773481685514128812
    • Yes, it does...

      But man's memory may only be as good as his Googling.
      DanaBlankenhorn
  • Google can save big $$$

    As of today my Gmail account has an astonishing:

    18,790 Archived Emails with 945 MB used and taking
    13% of my alloted 7,217 MB. (since 2/18/05)

    Just imagine a company of 100 employees using Google.
    I've seen it done by just using name/company prefixes
    in front of @gmail.com.

    There's no maintenance, no backups, virtually no
    downtime, support personnel are not required, hardware
    is not needed and it's accessible anywhere.

    If you're using Linux with OpenOffice, you can get
    some new $59.00 laser printers and inexpensive
    desktops and support 100 employees on a shoestring. -
    maybe even consider having them work at home. (Vendors
    are selling refurbished Pentium 2.4's w/256 MB for
    $100-$149, I bought a couple and they work great)

    For 100 employees, based on my usage, that would be:

    1,879,000 stored emails available (free)

    945 GB of storage used (free)

    7.2 TB of available storage (free)

    And only 13% of available capacity.

    All without taking up any real estate. Try estimating
    the total cost of a HDD based Outlook system like most
    companies use.
    Joe.Smetona