Google bets billions to lock-in search dominance

If Google is to continue to be not only the darling of the search world, but the toast of Wall Street as well, it must withstand not only Yahoo and Microsoft head-on competitive search and search advertising initiatives, but up-start Google wannabes, to boot, claiming they are the next big thing in search.Google, of course, is on the case, big time.
Written by Donna Bogatin, Contributor
If Google is to continue to be not only the darling of the search world, but the toast of Wall Street as well, it must withstand not only Yahoo and Microsoft head-on competitive search and search advertising initiatives, but up-start Google wannabes, to boot, claiming they are the next big thing in search.

Google, of course, is on the case, big time.

The Googleplex is spending billions not only investing in engineering R & D to "optimize" its SERP ranking algorithims, but, perhaps more importantly, to build-out its "massively scalable infrastructure" around the search world.

In the first quarter of 2007 alone, Google spent $597 million in Capital Expenditures, the majority related to IT infrastructure invesments, including data centers, servers and networking equipment. In 2006, Google invested $1.9 billion in CapEx.

Saul Hansell, the New York Times today touts he was "allowed" inside access to the Google search engineering team who "explained more than they ever have before in the news media about how their search system works."

Perhaps the Hansell assertion is correct that Google never before "explained" to the "news media" about how Google search "works," but that does not mean that the Google "secret" search sauce, as presented by Hansell, has not already been understood, presented and analyzed by some in the media, without need of "special" access to a sanitized Googleplex meet and greet. 

While interesting, Hansell's article serves to confirm Google search operations modus operandi, rather than uncover any spanking new Google search ground.

SEM Beware: Google deals blow to search engine marketing I underscored upon the announcement of Google's much ballyhooed Universal Search last month. I wrote:

In one fell Universal Search swoop, Google has wreaked havoc not only on searchers and Websites, but on the entire multi billion dollar search marketing industry.

Think the almighty Google PageRank was an impossible organic nut to crack? Even fearsome Matt Cutts won’t be able to finessse his way through the Sisyphean search engine marketing challenge that will be the “new and improved” Google.com.

The Hansell "conversation" with top Google engineer Amit Singhal, at "the top of a bright chartreuse stair case in Building 43" of the Googleplex, supports my contention.

Google, and Hansell, seek to present an image of Google perpetually "tweaking" its "ranking algorithm" to optimize in a "frantic quest for perfect links":

The search quality team makes about a half-dozen major and minor changes a week to the vast nest of mathematical formulas that power the search engine.

Not only does Google continuously change the manner in which it determines SERP ranking, Google may weigh "more than 200 types of information" in determining Google search rankings.

I characterize such an ever moving Google search organic ranking target as Sisyphean, Hansell dubs the Google organic search maze a "magical, mathematical brew."

Undoubtedly NOT so magical, though, for those SEMs seeking to know what is actually brewing at the Googleplex, in in order to optimize client Web properties for ranking within the golden top SERP threesome.

After all, as Hansell dutifully spins, "what Google does is akin to 'rocket science.'" How can a mere search marketer compete wth a Googley rocket scientist!

Search markters will not be the only ones frustrated by Google's big Universal Search changes, though. In making Google SERP results even less of a known quantity, Google runs a big risk of alienating its core search audience.

In Why Google Search will NOT rule the Universe! I make a case for why Google's new Universal Search SERPs will meet the fate of the now infamous Coca-Cola threatening New Coke fiasco.

Just as Coca-Cola used millions of dollars worth of market research to justify turning its back on the 100 year old strong secret Coca Cola formula for success and ended up back peddling and drowning in New Coke tears, the new Google.com will regret it ever fiddled with the successful, but unadorned and unimaginative, Google.com.

Hansell also makes a big search deal out of 1) Google's copying and caching of "the entire Internet"  in its "huge, customized data centers" and 2) The Google search results "freshness quandry."

Neither Google issue is a new one.

I have written extensively about Google's server farm build out, SEE: Google plots server farm land grab in Europe.

Google Web page caching? It has been subject to "fair-use" lawsuits. SEE: Will Google pay for content?

Google SERP (un)timeliness? Upon Universal Search, I wrote: Google Search: Big, bad multi-billion dollar sandbox on just that notion, and how it serves Google AdWords purposes quite well:

If Google was indeed a public service, its sandbox could theoretically be disallowed due to age discrimination!

I have oft underscored that Google’s exclusionary “sandbox” results in automatic “banning” of perhaps the most relevant Web pages for a given search query, based simply on Googler-derived arbitrary notions of “aging.”

Will Google really change its aging tune, though? As it stands now, the Google sandbox assures all the more need for a new Website to buy AdWords, if it wants any Google love!

It is not news that Google SAYS it will be more open to Website "youngsters." SEE: Google’s Matt Cutts SERP quality scoring patent? What it means.

Time will undoubtedly NOT tell, given the more Google "tweaks," the less anyone knows what is really going on in the Google search world.

One thing will always be a given, though: Can't "get in" Google? No problem. Google AdWords will be happy to take your Website, if you bid high enough, that is. 

ALSO: Google Universal Search $25,000 query in Jeopardy Google gets defensive, all over the world Google defends $165 million ‘few strings attached’ tax breaks

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