Saturday, January 5, 2013

Is Google becoming too arrogant?

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely"
John Dalberg-Acton
This quote, which is a great observation, continues to prove itself. It's 2013 and we're still plagued with dictatorships and Mad Men struggling to stay in control, justified only by their ego and self value. 2012 was a bad year for a few - especially of the strangest and oldest. But they still stand. Sometimes we forget about them. Like Robert Mugabe, who continues to wreak havoc on the people who sought to liberate, not unlike Castro. But sometimes we just fail to recognise them.

Google is a tech company that I'm very familiar with. I'm often accused of being a Google fan boi. But I'm a fan of technology, not technology companies. Microsoft, Dell, Intel and Yahoo came before, not necessarily in that order but close. I've also worked for most of them in some shape or another.

Google is just the newest crush. But it's waning thin. They used to stand for the best. They had a dream. They delivered. They challenged. And now, seemingly without a challenger worthy in their own eyes, they've become a bit of an abuser of power.

I Googled "Google." And then I had to Google Pre-eminent. You couldn't make it up. I just grabbed the first result, as it was rather fitting.

Good Content
This is a dangerous PR stunt for Google to play. They've shifted the dislike for PageRank to the spammy SEO companies that tried to sell and buy their way into organic rankings. To say that it ranks site purely on content is a big PR gamble. Google cannot judge content and it has no intention because its context that determines the value of content. Not grammar. Or Style. Mostly, it's User Generated Content. Typically rushed, often breaking multiple Rules. Think Fora (forums?), Buy and Sell sites, Trip Advisor. That kind of thing. That's what Google means by "Good Content." Not Stephen King. Sorry PR and Copywriter people. Google and users just don't care.

Google still loves Meta data and even expanded it what it processes. It still cares about Server and folder/file architecture. Canons. PageRank. Penguin wasn't about good content - it was about going after people who use keyword stuffing and buy/sell links. That has nothing to do with content.

Taking on the world

The EU and FTC handed them a tiny slap on the wrist recently with their back track of an anti-trust investigation. Actually, it was a peck on the cheek. In fact,  if you were a senior VP or other executive, you'd be forgiven if you thought it was actually a ringing endorsement of everything they do. Except that the EU seem to be a little more determined - given Europe's history of favouring protectionism.

Google still play the scrappy start-up. They're challenging everybody. Video. Search. Online Marketing (via acquisitions and investments). Car makers. Sat Nav. Mobile phone OS. Mobile phone handset makers. Office productivity. Hosted E-Mail. Laptops. OS.

They're taking on giants like Apple, Microsoft, Nokia....etc. If it can connect to the Internet, Google wants a large slice of it. 80% or so should be fine.

Wake up Call
The problem is, that most of their products are just too basic. Not basic just from a clean, uncluttered point of view. But basic. Worse than Ryanair or no-frills - a  just "Doesn't work" basic. In the last month, updates to the Search product have seen Google Local and Google maps fail to work for searches in Europe.

Their Google Apps - so basic that you can rely on it when you have carrier pigeons to carry your TCP protocol - is now a "premium" product. I'm sorry - but Google Apps isn't worth paying for. I might use 50% of Microsoft Word features and Google might have 50% of the functions we use 50% of the time but its starting to take its own drugs if it believes that its a premium service.

Analytics is a dinosaur product that doesn't work properly. Its unreliable and its rubbish. Google hind behind "its a free product" as an excuse for doing something properly. You only have two alternatives - accept the unsupported failure product or fork out €50k a month for the premium version. For small businesses.

SiteProNews seem to be wondering the same thing, Is Google Becoming a Tyrant?

I'm sorry Google, but you're going to have to go back to the drawing board. To be a world leader, you ALWAYS have to deliver the best, not just the first time.

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