When Google came to existence back in the late 1990s, it was a starkly different company in the way it operated. Google did things differently and better than anybody else by always focusing on what the user wanted. Google’s search service was not the only search engine when it came along. There were several others people could choose from: AltaVista, Highbot, Lycos, Excite, Infoseek, GoTo, Yahoo, etc.
However, there was something fundamentally different about Google that set it apart from all the other search engines. Google knew what people wanted, which was quick service and accurate results. They provided people with an uncluttered page with just the Google logo and the search box – that was it. All the other search engines were more interested in being “sticky portals”, which means that they wanted to bring people on their website and keep them there for as long as they could. Google did not want this – Google wanted to give people their search results quickly and send them off to their destination quickly. Simplicity and reliability was always at the core of their service.
Google also stood out because they never let advertising get in the way. While the other search engines were letting big companies buy their way to the top of search results, Google refused to do this. Google saw this as deceiving the public and they didn’t want advertising to get in the way of the science of search results.
When Google decided to place advertisements on their website, it was always clearly labelled as such and was placed to the right of the screen. This quick, clean, simple, and reliable service eventually won over people and those countless other search engines that proceeded Google are now gone or forgotten.
This is what CEO, and one of the founders of Google, Larry Page said in a 2004 interview he did with Playboy Magazine:
“That’s the problem. Most portals show their own content above content elsewhere on the web. We feel that’s a conflict of interest, analogous to taking money for search results. Their search engine doesn’t necessarily provide the best results; it provides the portal’s results. Google conscientiously tries to stay away from that. We want to get you out of Google and to the right place as fast as possible. It’s a very different model.”
This of course was back when Google still had some morals, ethics, and standards that it was holding itself to. Google changed from what it used to be and has become a really large company that is fighting hard to stay relevant and on top. Now, it seems like Google will do anything to sabotage and step on any company that threatens its number one spot.
Well guess what happened – Facebook came along and challenged Google than ever before. Since Google relies heavily on advertisers to keep it rich and on the top, it means that if those advertisers decide to leave Google, for all intents and purposes Google is doomed.
In a desperate attempt to challenge Facebook’s dominance in the social media, Google launched what is now known as “Google Plus” or “Google +”. This Google Plus is supposed to be the saviour of Google and is supposed to be an extension of Google itself. No longer is Google just a website that quickly gives users their results and sends them off, Google has become that sticky portal that wants to keep users on their website so that they can collect as much personal information from you as possible to give to advertisers.
Google was getting really worried that websites like Facebook and Twitter were closing off the Internet. Facebook and Twitter are what is called “walled gardens”, which are websites that do not allow search engine crawlers to take their information. Facebook and Twitter have deliberately walled off Google from seeing all the activity its users are doing on their websites. This is basically death for Google because it relies on the openness of information on the Internet. If Google cannot get access into that information then they become more and more irrelevant.
So Google develops a knock-off version of Facebook, which looks almost identical to Facebook but worse. Google’s desperation does not stop here – I will elaborate on this in my next posts.