New Media Trainee

February 20, 2007

Don’t Be Evil….

Filed under: Uncategorized — tenftpole @ 8:24 pm

The Search by Jon Battelle

I often take my Google search box for granted, but reading the first six chapters of “The Search” by Jon Battelle reminded me how much I depend on this powerful tool in my daily life at work and at home. I remember in 2002 discovering GoogleNews. It made by pr job 10 times easier. While Yahoo! and others may have a search function, it just hasn’t been as good to me as Google’s. Batelle’s premise that Google is jacked into our culture absolutely resonated with me. It’s an historical archive of humanity, as we pour our hopes, fears, and intentions into Google, and he’s right.

 

When Larry Page started the “Backrub” project along with Sergey Brin, as graduate students at Stanford U., not even they could have predicted that a search tool based on citation and annotation, rather than crawling for text on a web page, could change how we connect to knowledge on the internet. Of course, this method rubbed a few people the wrong way. Battelle writes of one Web master who ran an award winning civil war site being upset because his Web site didn’t rank high as a result of a search on Google. Perhaps it would have on AltaVista or other early search engines. Ironically, soon after, most Web sites were obsessed with gaining the Google juice to rank high enough on Google.

 

Of course, Google didn’t change the world all by itself. Batelle does a good job of filling in the history of the search function and some of the lesser known people involved who helped in the evolution of the function. Bill Gross, known for his brain children Goto.com and IdeaLab, may not have been as successful as Google, but certainly his strategy of arbitrage to sell “click” ads online was revolutionary. Page and Brin have tweaked Gross’s business plan to make Google a $3 billion a year business. There have been a lot of good attempts to do what Google has accomplished, but in the end, Google is successful because it works. As Batelle says in Chap 1, Google is the closest thing we have to answering the question, “What do people want?”

Google is also successful because it has incorporated things like blogger, google maps, picaso, Google scholar, Google Earth, and other web 2.0 applications that are cool and work well. I can’t imagine, in the next 5 to 10 years, that any company is going to improve much on what Google has accomplished. Even though Page and Brin are micromanagers, Google is definitely working. As the CEO of Yahoo!, Mr. Srinivasan saidI don’t find it surprising that there are people in
Silicon Valley who don’t appreciate Google or how they operate. I attribute it to jealousy. Batelle sums up Page and Brin’s legacy best. Google’s founders have “fundamentally changed the relationship between humanity and knowledge (p.66).”

Loose thoughts…

So, if blogging is changing the business world by creating conversations between consumers and businesses, as suggested by Scoble and
Israel in Naked Conversations, then Google has provided us with the ultimate tool to track those conversations. Oh, and they acquired Blogger which must help to some degree. Is Google the next Microsoft? Not in my eyes, because their products are FREE and they actually work. I was so impressed by The Search, that I even trolled around Google and eventually customized my own Google home page. They have even more cool widgets than I knew about.

–Geoff Spencer, Google maniac.

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