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What’s up at Google?
At the beginning of November, I attended ad:tech in NYC and during my trip I was really disappointed by Google. Andreas wrote a post about how often we use Google’s services in a day. Earlier this week, we had the Gmail fiasco which I believe should be out of Beta by now. And more importantly, back in October, I called Google the Microsoft 2.0 of today. It seems that might be coming true. One comment I had in my post was:
People were afraid of Microsoft then and they are afraid to speak up against Google now. Just look at Google Adsense. No one (including me) is willing to speak out about forcing Google to show how much they are making per click. We just accept whatever pennies they throw at us.
But I think that tide might be shifting today. Google is the current Internet owner, as we touch a Google service on almost every web site available today. Blake Ross, co-founder of Firefox opened a thread (which has reached 200 comments in 24 hours), “Trust is hard to gain, easy to lose.” in which he discusses the Google “Tips” that now appear when you search for terms in which Google offers a product. Matt Cutts, the blogging face of Google replied with his views. Wired Monkey Bites blog has an excellent weekly recap.
It appears I am not with the majority here. I don’t believe Google should be using this tactic because what it does is shift the ability for other offerings to be as competitive with the Google product. And while the tips appear outside of the search, I can only bet that their clickthru rate is significantly higher than the organic and paid results. These tips clearly say “CLICK ME” with their image and nicely formatted text. Mike at TechCrunch believes the opposite:
Google has every right to promote their own products on their website.
Google is massive and if you don’t think they control the Internet, you are mistaken. Results in Google can account for a large majority of traffic. On some of my sites, it accounts for the majority of traffic to the site. Yahoo! and the others are not even in the same arena.
Google is now “corporate” and I think that angers a lot of the bloggers and techies who helped them get to the mammoth size they are today. Mike also states:
Now Google is in the position of dominance, and they definitely have the arrogance that goes with it. Google needs to change. They need to stop treating the outside world with disdain, and replace it with transparency and honesty. Users must always come first. Always. And they need to do it soon. Once the shift in public opinion becomes obvious, it will be way too late.
I agree completely. I see this at the events. I saw this at their office. Is it ok? Sure, but I hope they continue to remember the line from the Honeymooners, “You better be nice to people on the way up… because you are going to see the same people on the way down!”
The question for 2007 is whether these new views and opinions from users will actually make an impact (and begin to shift thought) with Google. My initial take today is that they won’t. Remember that investors don’t care about users. They care only about monetary figures. And that will take a long, long time to shift. Google will continue to dominate and own the Internet next year. And mark my words, by the end of 2007, people won’t use YouTube half as much as they do now. Because YouTube has “gone corporate”. And the truth is that I realy like Google a lot and would love to one day be a Googler.