I use Google search heavily. Every day. I also use Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Maps and YouTube. There are alternatives for all of them but Google does a nice job and the integration across applications is a big plus.
Google clearly dominates Internet search and wants to dominate cloud-based services in general.
All the more reason why I’m becoming increasingly concerned about problems with Google search. I wrote about problems among search providers back in February ’08. The article was called “Search Industry Is Broken, and Vendors Better Fix It”.
The situation worsened until last year when Microsoft’s Bing turned up the pressure on Google. We’ve seen some improvement recently but Google still returns far too much spam as search results.
While I like Google as a company, it is important to understand their motivations and business drivers. Google is an advertising broker. That’s their business.
Google’s revenue comes from selling ad space and generating click-throughs for their advertisers. While we like to think of Google as a cool technology company, technology is not their business. They use technology to drive their advertising business.
I don’t fault Google for delivering search results that enhance their revenue. I just wish they would be more open about it. Google has created a system that companies can exploit to attract click-throughs. They have created a major industry around SEO – Search Engine Optimization.
The sole purpose of SEO is to drive web traffic to the target sites. When you do a search, do you want to see sites that are optimized to draw traffic or do you want to see the information you are interested in? Google supplies too much of the former.