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Google Google Google

By - September 25, 2009

41B7NrA03OL._SL500_AA240_.jpgA spate of Google books coming out, including one from Ken Auletta and one already out from Jeff Jarvis, and another from Richard Brandt. Ken’s book has dangling, draw-you-in quote, as usual: Apparently Eric Schmidt told him that Google will be the world’s first $100billion media company. MEDIA company, mind you. MEDIA.

Oh, never mind.

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12 thoughts on “Google Google Google

  1. JG says:

    MEDIA company, mind you. MEDIA. Oh, never mind.

    Google has been saying one thing, doing exactly the opposite thing, for years now. I’m read to give up wringing my fists in frustration over the fact that Google is (and has been for a while now) a media company.

    Instead, what I would really like to understand is why they feel they have to conduct themselves in this manner? Why do they feel that they have to publicly and vocally make drastic pronouncements, only to then go and to exactly the opposite. What do they gain from acting like this?

    I understand that any company has to make course changes and corrections. I can see that one does not always know the future, and has to adjust as the future unfolds. But when one has a strong core principle, those future direction changes should be along the order of 3-degree or 10-degree or 18-degree course changes. Not 180-degree course changes. Not exactly the opposite of what was strongly, publicly stated (branded?) for years.

    And they’ve done enough of those 180-degree changes that I’ve almost lost complete confidence in the company. I used to really, really like Google, partly for their services, partly for what they stood for. Now they’ve lost so much of what they once stood for that I no longer trust their intentions or much of what they say.

    It’s not just this Media Company thing, either. It’s:

    – We don’t do banner advertising, because it’s not relevant. Oh, now we do banner advertising (even though its still not relevant).
    – We don’t do chat, because that would take our focus off of search. Oh, now we do chat.
    – The spyware that we distribute with Google Pack (rightly) considers DoubleClick to be a privacy thread, and removes DoubleClick cookies. Oh, let’s buy DoubleClick, and then reclassify it as a non-threat.
    – We’re not doing a Google phone. Oh, except now there is a G1 from T-Mobile, which according to the television ads, prominently includes a “Google” (the G1…now with more Google). How is that not a Google phone?
    – I could go on..

    So, fine. They’re a media company now. Wonderful.

    But when are they going to start being Google again?

  2. JG wrote: “So, fine. They’re a media company now. Wonderful. But when are they going to start being Google again?”

    Interesting you should ask that, as yesterday scientists revealed that there is no going back.

    University of Oregon (2009, September 24). Mutations Make Evolution Irreversible: By Resurrecting Ancient Proteins, Researchers Find That Evolution Can Only Go Forward. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 25, 2009, from /releases/2009/09/090923143335.htm

  3. JG says:

    Michael: You’re saying that Google is evolving, growing and becoming better, and moving past the stage in which it needs to act Googly?

    Decent point, except that evolution (and even mutations) doesn’t change a water-breathing, fast swimming, weak-limbed fish into an air-breathing, fast running, strong-limbed cheetah overnight.

    It’s the 180-degree changes that I object to, the complete and violent reversals. Not the 10-degree changes. One day, it’s “we’re not a media company and have no intention of ever being one”. The next it’s “we’re going to be a $100bn media company”. It’s “relevance to the user is more important than anything else” one day, and “we’ll show banner ads, deal with it” the next.

  4. Chris says:

    @JG I agree with you on the changes in Google, however – relevant banner advertising is something nobody has cracked, so in theory they are working to solve this problem. I think anybody in the business agrees that there is not a solution in sight…nor one that is even close!

  5. Who cares? (only noobs + idiots believe Google results aren’t manipulated — everyone else has moved on elsewhere [e.g. twitter, facebook + thousands of less social, more relevant websites])

    I think, John, that if you want to stay up-to-date, that you’re going to have to get over your Google-obsession. The curve is well underway — if you want to be ahead of it (and not get stuck behind it) then you’re going to have to do something about it.

    Here’s an example: In your next 100 posts (or until the end of the year — whichever comes first), do not mention Google again.

    I think you will notice that there is more to search than Google. Indeed, as JG points out, there isn’t really all that much search left in Google.

    On most one-size fits-all search engines (including Google), Google now dominates the top 10 results for miserable failure.

    😀 nmw

  6. JG says:

    @Chris: relevant banner advertising is something nobody has cracked, so in theory they are working to solve this problem.

    That’s my question. Why are they (in theory) working to solve this problem? When Google started, they publicly announced that, cracked or not, the banner advertising problem was evil. No need to even try to solve it, because even “solved evil” is still “evil”.

    Now they’re saying, “Remember that whole thing about ‘we can make money without being evil? Um uh yeah…never mind. We’ve given up on that. So not only are we going to try and make money by being evil, we’re going to put our all into it and optimize the hell (heh) out of it!

    There is so much potential for technology to change the world for the better: health care, war, government transparency, etc. I’d like to see technology help make the world a better place. And the one company, Google, that I had so much hope for in being the catalyst for this change can’t even keep its s**t together for more than a few years after IPO? It crumbles and cracks at the first sign of difficulty?

    @nmw: Who cares? (only noobs + idiots believe Google results aren’t manipulated

    I’m not a noob, so I must be an idiot 😉 Or a fool, for ever having believed in Google in the first place.

    Everyone has moved on? Maybe what you say is true. But then that is even sadder than Google falling apart. That means that we the people can’t even stick with an idea or technology long enough to really push its application into important, world changing areas, before we ourselves get bored and go chasing off after shiny new toys. When the toy becomes more important than the goal, we’ve basically given up.

  7. @JG: Maybe what you say is true. But then that is even sadder than Google falling apart.

    Why is that sad? Is getting rescued out of the quicksand sad because you didn’t stick with the quicksand?

    ;D nmw

    ps: I’ve just now decided to open “Search Information Place” (see website link) to public posts (just send an email to address given in the site’s header — it’s based on, which is getting a lot of attention from “early adopters” who are getting sick + tired of milling with the latecomers @ twitter et. al. 😉

  8. JG says:


    Is getting rescued out of the quicksand sad because you didn’t stick with the quicksand?

    Because here is the analogy:

    – Broad Domains = Various Jungles (e.g. “search” is one jungle and “real time asynchronous communication” is another jungle)

    – Specific companies = Quicksand (e.g. Google is one quicksand pit, Twitter is another quicksand pit)

    – The real value of a domain = The valuable golden artifact buried deep within the jungle.

    So it’s sad, because what is happening is that everyone is seeking that valuable golden artifact (“real value”) buried deep within a jungle (the “search” domain). A specific company (“Google”) comes in and starts mining the jungle, and ends up creating quicksand. Everyone gets caught in the quicksand.

    However, instead of concluding that one should avoid that particular patch of quicksand (e.g. Google), everyone runs out of that particular jungle (search) altogether, and starts the adventure again in a new jungle (real time asynchronous communication).

    What should be happening is that we abandon one spot of quicksand, but not the jungle as a whole. Because the only way to find that golden treasure is not to do a shallow exploration of lots of different jungles, but to go deep into one particular jungle, fight our way through a couple of different quicksand pits, and eventually find the real value in a domain.

    It is a mistake, therefore, to conflate one quicksand pit with the entire jungle. And that’s what I think happens a little too often.

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  10. @JG Broad Domains = Various Jungles (e.g. “search” is one jungle and “real time asynchronous communication” is another jungle)

    I disagree. The entire Web is a search engine — e.g. when I go to twitter, I want to know what people feel is worth tweeting about. I don’t go to twitter much anymore, because I think I would probably get more reliable information if I read the National Enquirer. ;D

    A couple years ago, I spoke with Vint Cerf at a domain conference where he keynoted. In his keynote speech, he said people don’t use “domain name guessing” — instead: they use “search”. I pointed out that when my mom searches for something on the Internet, she does this by “pressing the blue e” — apparently this is not what Mr. Cerf meant. I asked for more detailed description of what he meant (see also ), but to this day I have not gotten an adequate response. One thing that has changed in the meantime is that Google has come out with a keystroke-logging spyware application (I guess it’s called “chrome” 😉 — but it’s not entirely clear whether that should be considered an adequate response to my question.

    At any rate, I believe everything anyone does on the web is “information retrieval” [aka “search”]). People just like Google sort of like they liked Michael Jackson or Elvis Presley. Google itself is a meaningless string — so whatever anyone “finds” there will generally be quite random. At least with twitter you might find something that someone thinks is worth tweeting.

    — meh…

    🙂 nmw

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  12. Andrew says:

    What Google should be spending their time on:

    – How to eliminate spam on blogs
    – How to eliminate spam web pages from search rankings, which we have today largely BECAUSE of google
    – How to search blogs and other time-based sources of data without picking up all the spam.

    All of this is search. Google seems to have lost their focus.