- Posted by Eric Lander
- On January 23, 2007
- 1 Comments
Despite being the most widely used search engine available on the Internet, Google makes a number of mistakes on a regular basis. It’s when they compound those mistakes that they continue on the path they’re on… One where many involved in the Internet begin to look down upon them, similar to what Microsoft went through in the late 90’s.
For Google, things have changed very quickly in a couple short years. Since the dawn of their IPO, Google’s users have become more critical while what Google offers has become increasingly flawed.
So what’s the deal with Google? If you were to ask me, they need a bit of soul searching — because they’re telling us one thing and practicing another. And that’s why I’m sold on the fact that Google is one giant hypocrite.
Let me explain…
“Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” (source)
That worked so well back when Google was content being a search engine. Search engines have the ability to organize search for stocks, images, maps and news… But can someone please explain to me how that same company focused on organizing information gets involved with things like Google Checkout, Froogle, Google Pack and Google Talk?
I know that some people actually use these things — but how does it relate to search? They don’t. They just provide Google with a larger base to market their ads.
I’m okay with that so long as you come clean about it. The thing that floors me is that Google site back and tells us that:
It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
Google does search. With one of the world’s largest research groups focused exclusively on solving search problems, we know what we do well, and how we could do it better. Through continued iteration on difficult problems, we’ve been able to solve complex issues and provide continuous improvements to a service already considered the best on the web at making finding information a fast and seamless experience for millions of users. Our dedication to improving search has also allowed us to apply what we’ve learned to new products, including Gmail, Google Desktop, and Google Maps… (from: Corporate Information: Our Philosophy)
I don’t buy it. Aside from being incredibly hypocritical — Google has one of the most difficult times marketing their products to their users. Why would that be so difficult if you were providing useful tools? One theory of mine is that they’d be a lot more successful if they’d just change their image or do what they say and stick to what they’ve earned their reputation as — a search company.
As an example, Froogle has been around for more than two years now and still fails to organize information well enough to solve the simplest shopping adventures. Still, there have been no improvements visibly made to the tools and as a result it gets shuffled lower and lower on the PR list until we all forget about it.
Next, let’s look at Google Checkout. I know it’s new and I might be jumping the gun here — but just take this for what it’s worth.
This past holiday Google offered bonuses to merchants and buyers for using Google Checkout to purchase things online. While competing with systems such as PayPal is quite the challenge, what does it say about your marketing abilities when you have to resort to giving things away? Giving free things to people when you’re a mom and pop shop fighting for exposure is one thing… But when you have 380 million unique users per month, you couldn’t find a more effective way to advertise and recruit users?
I’m really just bitter though, mainly because I used Google back when they provided efficient search results that weren’t so easily influenced. In today’s version of Google’s search engine (remember, this is the one thing they know best), they over-value sources like Wikipedia despite the fact that it can be one of the most easily spammed sources for backlinks.
To make matters worse, Wikipedia has chosen to implement nofollows once again — a step in the right direction for cleaning up some Google SERPs. But why couldn’t Google have made an alteration?
The answer is simple — Google is no longer motivated to provide effective search results. Rather, they’re satisfied with a questionable image and increasing profit margins. Anyone in business would feel the same way though. That’s why I’m not faulting Google for focusing on those goals — I just wish they’d come to their senses and refocus themselves a bit before they go too far down the path to mediocrity.