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Google search kingdom: Benevolent or despotic?

Readers of this Digital Markets Blog know I am an avid follower of Google, the $142 billion market cap worldwide corporation that touts a mission to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”I have often pointed out that Google ought to append its “mission statement” to reflect the reality of its corporate purpose with a phrase such as “and to sell ads against the information.
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Written by Donna Bogatin on

Readers of this Digital Markets Blog know I am an avid follower of Google, the $142 billion market cap worldwide corporation that touts a mission to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

I have often pointed out that Google ought to append its “mission statement” to reflect the reality of its corporate purpose with a phrase such as “and to sell ads against the information.” Moreover, I point out in “Scoring Google on quality”:

Although Google says its mission is to organize all the world’s information and make it universally accessible, Google will not make a prospective advertiser’s information accessible to the world unless the AdWords ad will provide Google with its desired profit margin.

The lively discussion the past week in the blogosphere about the seemingly unchecked power Google wields brought to mind a hackneyed cliché: “Can’t live with them, can’t kill them.” I recall having heard women discuss men in such a manner. To confirm my recollections, I did a search, at Google!

Result: The phrase is listed at worldofquotes.com under the category “Unkown Quotes: Cliches and One-Liners.” 

In “Google’s Top Five: Googley things I admire” I noted I am one of the 50%+ majority of Internet users that rely on Google for search. I also disclaimed, however, that as I do not find Google’s search results to be comprehensive I often repeat my searches at Yahoo.

Google is the leader in search, but the search it offers does not match the lofty objective it has set for itself:

Google stands alone in its focus on developing the "perfect search engine," defined by co-founder Larry Page as something that, "understands exactly what you mean and gives you back exactly what you want." To that end, Google has persistently pursued innovation and refused to accept the limitations of existing models.

Google particularly prides itself on upholding the “democracy” of the Web:

Democracy on the web works...Google's technology uses the collective intelligence of the web to determine a page's importance.

Unfortunately for the majority of Website owners, however, Google’s “democracy” is not of the “every vote counts, equally” kind.

Google’s “sandbox” penalizes “new” Websites for ranking within Google’s “organic” results; A net effect often being the only hope for returning in the 50% search share leader’s SERP is via a Google AdWords buy.

Google’s dominance in search is not due to an absolute lock-in, as Google is quick to underscore. Google does benefit from user inertia, however.

In “Is Google search vulnerable in 2007?” I discuss the hopes of three companies—Ask.com, Wikiasaria and Powerset—to trump Google in search. As none of the three companies currently offers a compelling value proposition to both advertisers and users that matches or exceeds Google’s winning formula, I conclude with Google’s own assessment that the company is unbeatable in search and search advertising, to date.

ALSO: Google multi-billion dollar risks in 2007
Why Google wants YouTube independent

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