Google Verticals vs. What is Google's end-game?

Why does Google present unappealing shells of services available elsewhere? Perhaps Google has a grand end-game.

Three months after its debut, Google Finance traffic is barely registering in the Business Information Category; Yahoo Finance is the most visited financial news and information destination on the Web, garnering almost 35% of all visits in May, while Google trailed at a distant #42 most visited financial destination.

Google Finance is but the latest Google Vertical struggling to be a destination. In fact, the bulk of Google Verticals are languishing, as the Hitwise “Rankings of Top 20 Google Domains Week Ending May 13, 2006” below shows.


Google Base, feared by many at launch last Fall as a classifieds “category killer,” does not even manage to rank within the top 20.

Why then does Google continue to roll out its own unique style of verticals? Why does Google present unappealing shells of services available elsewhere? Perhaps Google has a grand end-game.

Google is determined to organize all of the “world’s information.” But before Google can organize all the content in the world, it needs to have access to the world's content. For Google, however, access generally means full control of the content, selling ads against the content and selling ads to better “surface” the content.

Google makes a duplicate copy of the entire content of each Web page it crawls for indexing and then keeps the copy it created, and subsequently controls, within its own storage facilities. Google’s caching of third-party Web content, and display of the copied, cached content in Google’s core search results without content owners’ explicit permission, usurps management, control and ownership of the content from the actual creators and owners of the content. If a Web site owner removes an expired Web page from its own site, the expired content will remain alive and well within Google and will be indefinitely available to be presented as a Google search query result.

Google’s copying, caching and displaying of third-party Web page content makes Google the must-go-to destination for the world’s expired content, while also stripping content owners of full interest in, and control of, the content they created. For Google, however, it is merely fulfilling its vaunted mission to “organize the world’s information and make it more accessible.” If pressed for a legal rationale, Google is happy to talk about “fair use” and “opt-out.”

Google aims to obtain, control and own more content, cost-free to Google, for inclusion in its core search product via a no-cost content acquisition strategy through various Google Verticals.

Google Base recently announced:

Lately it seems there has been some confusion as to where your items will end up when you submit them to Google Base…you can certainly find your items in Google Base search results (which assures you they've been published live). But in order to draw searcher traffic, we also distribute your content to different Google search properties...

Local business listings submitted to Google Base will appear on Google Maps. For example, a search for pizza in San Francisco on Google Maps returns locations and phone numbers for local pizzerias in the city. And when you submit your local business listing to us, either individually or in a bulk upload, it could also appear on Google Maps.

All other item types submitted using bulk upload files are eligible to run as an experiment that surfaces Google Base content in Google search results.

The allure of surfacing “Google Base content in Google search results” is attracting more content uploads to Google from content owners. Once Google obtains and controls content owners’ content, however, a Google AdWords pitch is what is often surfaced.

According to Google Base:

If you're familiar with Google AdWords, you'll be happy to know that we're now enabling you to create AdWords ads for individually posted items in Google Base, right from the Google Base edit item page. Submitting an ad through Google Base is a quick and easy way to drive additional highly targeted traffic to your Base items. You simply write the ad creative and tell us how much you're willing to spend and we'll do the rest. We'll automatically use the content from your Google Base item to target your ad to user queries, displaying your ads only when they are relevant. We'll even geo-target your ads to the most appropriate location.