Monday, September 8, 2008

GOOGLE WHO?

Google, Google, Google, its everywhere, we love it, we use it, it is a case study, its all over. But few weeks back I read Top 10 Google Disappointments, and more than the piece I was shocked at some of the comments, people just hating Google with such venom. Someone even suggested to visit a site called dumpgoogle.com.

Now I am not disappointed with Google as a consumer and I love Google, Gmail, blogger, feedburner, Youtube and so on. I will specially mentioned Youtube here, I watch more Youtube than TV these days.

But one clear thing I have seen in using each of services of Google, right from their search engine to adsense to adwords to YouTube. It is the lack of accountability and an unannounced but still very pronounced threat “I am the Law!” This does not account to me hating Google, as things are not black and white in life, there are shades of grey. There are great things which Google has provided us, but there are issues coming along with that.

Using a Google service ensures little accountability, that is for sure, and all the Google sites and services, try their best to keep users away from any redressal system. The examples on YouTube are people abusing you in comments, illegal content, complaining for illegal content is next to impossible. The examples on adwords are highly misleading, like one I saw on 15th August in my gmail, “2 serial blasts, read news” from some news site, for a moment I thought some major mishap has happened, once I got in on the site, there was nothing. A common man wouldn’t know how to complaint, I got into adwords and complaint, and got a reply citing little responsibility for it:

“We monitor content in ads submitted through the AdWords program but are not typically in a position to arbitrate disputes regarding specific website content. As
stated in our Terms and Conditions, advertisers are responsible for the keywords and ad content that they choose to use.”

Someone should tell them, in a country like India, this will not work, abetting information on terror is the last we Indians want. I know it is not mistake of adwords, as the text ad must be created by the site owner. But giving people a license to advertise anything on the world’s biggest network is a big risk within itself. The lesser known evils are jobsites; advertising, “Jobs in Zee TV” as I open a mail from an old friend from ZEE TV is highly misleading and stupid.

Coming to search engine, the mother ship of Google, I see misleading results, but this time I will not blame Google, it is the SEO people. I think all these SEO people are making sure Google users will reduce usage of Google. When you search for “Home loan India” the number one site in organic links is, www.guide2homeloan.com, a search for “House Delhi” gives www.swagatamindia.com and delhilawhouse.com. Now the search for “Buy House Delhi” will give first link same, and second link as propertywala.com. My intention of searching “house Delhi” and “buy house Delhi” is the same, and I think I will be best serviced by magicbricks.com, 99acres.com or maakan.com, but I get none of it in the first page as an organic result.

The new chrome is great, wider area, better navigation and some small issues, like rumors that windows updates are going to make it look bad. Check out this businessweek story on similar issues:

http://www.businessweek.com//technology/content/sep2008/tc2008093_489920.htm?campaign_id=rss_daily

Another thing, wearing the internet marketing hat, I think Google intentionally keeps their systems too complicated or too closed. It is left for the SEM and SEO people to take guesses and keep experimenting. The SEM scenario as more advertisers come on Google is going to be more expensive and less efficient. Already the PPC affiliate market has created enough confusion, misleading links, misleading Ads and a total mockery of Adwords editorial policy. But I think the lack of action is intentional from Google’s side, they want market competition and confusion, which will multiply their revenues. The affiliate PPC part is going to highly counter productive for Google as serious brands are going to reduce spends due to this confused marketplace.

But even after all this, “I love Google” and I hope they remove these kinks to create an even better internet place for all. I will say Google has given us much more than any tech firm, Microsoft is far behind, they just want to sell a new version, which requires a complete hardware change, I think they have some tie-up with the hardware firms. Quality services at no cost for the consumer, and showing them some Ads for it, don’t hurt me as a consumer. Everyone has got to make his money, I like the Google way, give things free to direct consumers, and charge others who like to reach out to “direct consumers”.

So here is my appeal to Google, as per the famous line from the movie Spiderman, "With great power comes great responsibility”. So I hope Google steps ahead and takes the great responsibility with the great power house they have become on the internet and in terms of influencing people across the world. I think Google owners have a great chance of making a positive difference to people’s lives. I will end with a Sergey Brin quote, and I hope he does as he says:

“Obviously everyone wants to be successful, but I want to be looked back on as being very innovative, very trusted and ethical and ultimately making a big difference in the world.”

3 comments:

ashmitasaha said...

I agree that with you that Google has brought on certain ills along with its trayful of goodies. It must be a very tough task to monitor the quality of results in organic and inorganic rankings. Google has the best technology to do this. But clearly that is not enough. Only a huge team of manual editors can monitor quality at the highest levels.

rajat rajwansh said...

I read your post. Google is the 6th most trusted brand in world today, that tag cannot be attached to someone who is not responsible.
I think google is fairly responsible but the amount of ads they serve is making it tough for them. When you serve million of ads per hour coupled with the use of dynamic insertion and api’s, there is no way you could manually screen all those ads. This is probably a trade off which one will have to live with for some time as against the excellent tools provided by google. Also, I believe google has the right to hide information which could provide important clues to their competitors about the technology google uses. The same thing happened with IBM, they told everyone how they built the PC and thereafter others saved million of dollars since they did not had to spend so much in research. Google has the right to preserve its technology and this confusion is bound to happen as with all great things. Everyone has the right to wonder and complain about google but google is innovating and in the process improving the way we find, use and analyze information.

Sandeep Amar said...

Rajat,

I respect your views, but if someone is serving millions of Ads, doesnt mean anything goes through, they are facing legal issues across the world. In case this was so simple, they wouldnt have to take go aheads of EU and US privacy norms for double click tie-up.

The other thing is you have misunderstood the point completely on hiding information, it is not technology, it is information vs. display advertising.....