Worries about the web and Google's role in it

Worries about the web and Google's role in it

Summary: Google's algorithmic changes and its focus on big brands is changing the web, and big business is reaping the benefits.

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TOPICS: Google
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The below comment is from Aaron Wall's excellent SEOBook.com — my go-to source for understanding search engine optimization (SEO) and the algorithmic games that Google [$GOOG] plays with hundreds of thousands of businesses the world over.

Worries about the web
(Image: Screenshot by Tom Foremski/ZDNet)

Few journalists understand Google's business, because if they did, they would be writing some amazing stories; stories that would attract scrutiny of the kind that Google wouldn't want.

This is why Google likes to point over there, and say, "Look at that car, it's driving itself!"

Or, "Look at our chairman, he's in North Korea and now he's in Myanmar, telling them to open up the internet." All red herrings designed to focus attention away from how Google makes money.

[Matt Cutts, Google's official web spam explainer, is another red herring — cut off and five steps behind Google's strategy. In January, he took 30 days off from the internet.]

Journalists run their Google beat as if it were based in Detroit, not Silicon Valley, because they don't understand the dynamics of its business, but they can understand a driverless car. They don't see that Google is engaged in a massive war against small business, which is fundamentally a war against jobs.

Google's dirty little secret is that its commercial algorithm is broken, and it can't distinguish between quality content and spam. Which is why it is backing big brands in a big way, because that's the easiest way to sort things out.

That's too bad for small mom-and-pop businesses and the backbone of the economy.

Please see Aaron Wall's latest article: Is Google Encouraging User Generated Spam on Social Media Sites?

Topic: Google

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14 comments
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  • Excellent Article

    I've thought fro years that Google has been turning into the Evil Empire. The EU fines Microsoft billions for the slighest thing, but Google gets away with things that are 10 times worse.
    Moosehouse
    • Google gets away with a lot for a good reason.

      Google does get away with a lot, but that doesn't mean they should be attacked. Ask yourself why do they get away with so much? Because they are and always have been strong supporter open source development. If Android was not free Google would have been sued directly. Their model has been to release many pieces of software that most would charge a lot of money for low cost or no monetary cost. It does cost you the information but compared to Apple and Microsoft that will charge you for the software and track the information (they have to because you bought it....excuse) the value is there. If you don't like Google come up with your own site, fund your own Summer of code, and by all means create some software to share with the world for free. After you do that then and only then should you criticize.

      That being said ALWAYS watch what Google is doing. They are a business and some of the things they do are not in service of their customers. Google Reader being shut down would have been easier to handle if Google released the programs source to open source developer. If there is no money to be made then they should have released it.
      alex_darkness
      • You sure?

        Firstly you say they release software for free when others charge. You should remember that next time you write software and try and sell it so you can pay you bills - consumers loovve free software, until they can't get a job.
        Secondly, there are really only two types of business models, high price low volume or low price high volume. Googles plays the low price high volume which some people prefer because they can save a buck - but it comes at a price...less privacy and more Ads. If you don't mind in you face advertising then stick with Google.
        global.philosopher
        • Mixed up messages anyone?

          Firstly, Do you want to pay more for software? If Google already made and patented the software, sorry you couldn't make a competing product anyway, but you could pay Google if you like (You still can I don't think they would refuse your money). Most of their services that they offer for free have an opt out (which if you didn't read the fine print EULA or whatever else there is you shouldn't complain). Google does do a lot of open source which if you have been a real developer you should know DOES NOT mean free.

          Secondly that is the scariest interpretation of businesses ever. Only two types of Business models, what next the two sentence business plan? MBA everyone would love that statement. Google has a few ads on their search page compare to their only of real competitor Bing that has half a page of ads and one of the 2 sidebars full of ads. Not much of a real choice there.
          alex_darkness
      • One more thing

        Lastly you said to only criticize only once you come up with you own Summer of code. Did you think that competing with a multi-billion dollar company that has the resources to provide free and good services (if you don't mind Ads and personal data mining) is not exactly an easy thing to do. And who are you to praise and yet deny criticism...a hypocrite me thinks.
        global.philosopher
      • Oh the irony

        People using Google search and other products because they are free and yet Googles Ad auction enables the top search results to be often the most expensive products by big retailers whilst the cheaper products by local businesses are relegated to the second page....ha ha ha ha.
        global.philosopher
  • The margin are so small

    for Google, that they want "world domination".
    The article is clear just looking at the bad side of Google.
    People are free to use other services, other search engines, .... People are more locked with other businesses.
    I want stop using gmail? easy. Want to use Bing? I can start now, ... Try that with other things...
    The thing is, products and services must be desirable.
    AleMartin
    • I dont think that's what he's talking about

      He's not talking about the end you and I see and use, he's talking about those displayed on the search engine side.

      How do I find the local computer store, when the tops spots are "owned" by Best Buy, Apple, Fry's ect? Now add to that the fact that Google serach is default installed on Android. And tied into gmail, Google docs, ect.

      Google wants control of the web, so how is that good for the little guys who rely on it just as much as the big guys do?
      William Farrel
      • And you do?

        With a search term of "computer store near parkville md," I don't see Best Buy, Apple, Fry's, or ect (whatever that is) in the first 50 results. I see local, mostly small, sellers. (Parkville is near Baltimore, and there are Apple and Best Buy stores within 5 to 10 miles.)

        I don't think that finding local small businesses is the problem. The problem is finding small businesses that aren't local. If you search Google for a product, such as "toast oven," the top three retailer results are Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart. On Bing, the top three retailer results (not counting ads) are Amazon, Walmart, and Lowes. What search engine is going to present small businesses at the top of the results for searches like these?
        dmw2
        • Hello? I was using that as a quick reference example, dmw2

          But we agree on the context of what was said vs AleMartin.

          It's not about "I'm dumping my gmail and going with Hotmail".
          William Farrel
      • Exactly

        Its funny to think how much it was beat into businesses heads over the past couple years that if you didnt have a website you were going to fail. Sure its convenient for some (mostly retail) but service type businesses still benefit more from TV ads and sheer presence (see their trucks everywhere) than having a website that dosnt get viewed. Their chances were better in phonebooks than on the web. There at least you are posted next to your competitiors sorted by the type of service you perform. If you typed in cleaners now ... youd get the 1 or two that paid the most to get to the top of google ... then youd get the definition of the word cleaner by like 5 sites ... then maybe 5 more that sold some type of cleaning equipment for kitchens ... then 5 more for cleaning your system of drugs ... then at the bottom somewhere you might get a local cleaning service. And that cleaning services name wouldnt even be for their site ... itd be a listing on a site that paid money for their listing site to be higher on the chain! (like angies list or something).
        RedSoldat
      • It's advertising

        Tv's, radios newspapers, ... lived and still live from it. I don't see Google changing the base philosophy of that. Yes they are changing the web, but I don't see just a negative side.
        Before web (and Google - don't think it's just Google), the small burger restaurant was a lot more invisible, while MacDonalds could afford worldwide ads on national tv the small restaurant was just a small sign on the street.
        AleMartin
      • Alas...it would never last

        I used to like Google because they were one of the few companies that assisted in reducing MSes influence on people's computer lives.....but alas....it appears that they are big enough now to be hurting just as many small companies and individuals that MS did in years gone by.
        I remember when there were dozens of competing PC companies with their own OSes until MS reduced it to just the boring white box/Windows world. Similarly I remember the web with dozens of popular search sites and the handset market with different OSes...alas now there is really only Sndroid and Google search.
        global.philosopher
    • Search engines

      are all pretty much the same beast. The only thing that makes them different is what blend of money vs. #'s of visits to the site vs. relevance to the keywords they decide to use. Google obviously being more about money.
      RedSoldat