Is Google's Success A Reason To Stop Using It?

from the gmind-control dept

Despite their best efforts, Google’s search engine rivals still aren’t making much of a dent in the company’s commanding lead in the space. Apparently, their latest strategy is to convince users that Google’s position allows it to wield a frightening amount of control over the world’s information. Of course, they don’t just come out and say this; rather, a marketing firm hired by Yahoo and Ask has started promoting a site that cryptically warns users to “Stop The Online Information Monopoly”. It warns that it’s only a matter of time before Google has the power of mind control, and that the way to stop this is to try a rival search engine. The problem is that Google really doesn’t exhibit the ominous behavior that this marketing campaign claims it does. Consumers do have choice when it comes to search engines, and for the most part, they’re choosing Google. If they wanted to use Ask or Yahoo, there’d be nothing stopping them, since the barriers to switching aren’t very high in this space. Instead of scaring people into switching, how about coming up with something better and giving people an actual reason to try something new? Meanwhile, John Battelle has an interesting suggestion for Yahoo and Microsoft, which is that they need to pool their search resources and take on Google together. We’ve discussed the reasons why a pure merger of the two companies doesn’t make much sense, in spite of many analysts’ insistence that Microsoft should buy Yahoo out. But if the two companies found a way to meaningfully combine their strengths, then a partnership might prove more effective than what either company is doing on their own.

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Comments on “Is Google's Success A Reason To Stop Using It?”

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!b says:

relating google to mind control also reminded me of EPIC, which as I recall, made a cubic tonne of assumptions that didnt make any business sense and probably wouldnt even be sustainable.

For instance: Why would an advertising and search company “buy” its largest customer?

I can’t think of a single business parallel where it would make any business sense to purchase your largest customer.

However, I think you are a bit deluded about “Net Neutrality” (or I am), as I see absolutely nothing in net neutrality that is based on doing something to protect the future. Instead, I see two individual camps trying to profit by destroying the future in their favor.

Casper says:

I like Google

I don’t see a reason to not like google. I use it without the first page beating me to death with ads, the results are fast, I have good control of what I want to find, and I know they are interested innovation rather then just making a profit of a single product.

I don’t care how big a company is as long as they don’t do something to piss me off. If google ever starts treating me like a theif and trying to tell me what I need rather then providing a solution for me needs, I’ll start to hate them as much as Micosloth.

Randominc (user link) says:

Long live Google and any monopoly that may come our way, IMHO. At least monopoly(s) bring standards. I love the Google tools and applications. In most cases they are superior products that are free and easy to use… that means something to a pseudo-net savy guy like me. The Google toolbox is extremely useful, and their search engine appears uncorruptable and unexploited.
No problem if you ask me…

Michael says:

LOL - Even Yahoo uses Google

Ever do an image search in Yahoo!?

Guess which database the results come from?

Google image search!

(I know this because I have to block the Google image search from my students due to too many easy exploits to get around proxy settings. Google told me I could get the same results by going to Yahoo!, which doesn’t have the same issues (yet))

Makes you wonder why Yahoo! would be biting the hand that feeds it…

Michael says:

Re: Re: Perhaps you should try babelfish

Since english obviously isn’t your native language.

Perhaps I didn’t explain well enough, but in general I don’t have more than five to seven minutes of free time during the day due to my educational duties.

I would be happy to render a full explanation of how Yahoo! uses the Google image search database if others wish to ask without attacking me.

Why on earth would a Google engineer tell me something not true?

Howard Lee Harkness (user link) says:


“a partnership might prove more effective than what either company is doing on their own.”

Really? Given the established M.O. of Microsoft to “embrace, extend, and extinguish”, I think I’d have a hard time doing a joint venture with Microsoft. Unless I didn’t really care about what happened to my company, and I could be assured of personally coming away from the initial deal set for life.

Violins and accessories

Jeffrey Martinez (profile) says:

Re: Err...

Yes, I think you are reading it wrong. Those stats show that has more traffic, true, but remember that is a web portal, not just a search engine (which is, unless you have it set to a personalized homepage). So I think that not everyone is going there just for search. AND, how many people actually have search toolbars installed in their browsers that never go to the home page?

Ayal Rosenthal says:

Natural monopoly

Google is becoming a natural monopoly in search. It has the best product at the best value for users (its free and the search time is minimal). Because monopolies tend to get complecent in their service and product, Google, like Microsoft before them, will find itself as a sleep-walking giant. But that’s fine. A new “Google”-type company will rise in its place with a better product and service. Just like before.

haywood says:

They have done their homework

Which is why Google is many peoples first choice. I use them extensively, G-mail is my primary source of email, Google personalized homepage, is my home page, the links and such save a ton of time. The only big blunder I’ve seen is Google groups which used to be one of the better news readers, but is now all glitz and bubble gum, and is crashing under its own weight. Best of all, it is all free, & even ad free if you use Firefox with Adblock.

Bob Sadler says:

Of Course, Attack those that do it right

This sort of tactic is all too prevalent in the world of Technology today.

Yahoo and Ask say Google is going to control us all, Viacom (AFTER signing on with Joost) sues YouTube because OTHER PEOPLE are uploading video clips, and even APPLE is trying to convince hundreds of thousands that using WINDOWS makes you an idiot.

Whatever happened with coming out with a competitive product that actually drew us to a new product?

I know, many will gravitate to my MICROSOFT comment, but the truth is, instead of making a product that is better, and by better I mean so much better that it draws people to it, that companies are now just trying to sway the opinions of the people they want their customers to be by slamming the “other guy”.

This type of bullshit is exactly what turns me off from politics and those assinine talk shows about politics. It’s easy to say hateful things about other people or other products, it’s hard to actually come up with something or someone that is better then what is already there.

Sure, you technoids (myself included) will say LINUX is better then WINDOWS, OSX is better then WINDOWS, and I say, to us, the techies, you are right. But if it were better for the hundreds of thousands that still use WINDOWS then THEY WOULD BE USING THOSE OPPOSING PRODUCTS.

You want to make a quick billion dollars? Make a competiting product to WINDOWS that will run the software that is already out there, and make it so user-friendly that everyone and their mother can not only use it, but understand it. You come out with something like that, then you will make your billions. Until then, stop crapping all over the other product just because you don’t like it, it shows a real lack of maturity.

Oh, as for Yahoo, ASK, and Viacom are concerned, personally I won’t give these people any of my time or money, until of course, they make a competiting product that is BETTER, instead of talking poorly about their competitors, or worst yet (VIACOM) sueing them.


jason galanis says:

Re: Of Course, Attack those that do it right

i agree that competition generally produces the very best products and innovations for the benefit of the consumer. i also agree that companies should compete for customers. HOWEVER, bob ignores that competition is not always a benign activity and that often arch enemies dont compete on what might be a ‘fair’ playing field. as for google and viacom, google is clearly making money off of viacom’s intellectual property. i dont see why bob is criticising viacom. it is their IP that is being exploited. as for yahoo, bob is silent to the fact that google actually previously exploited yahoo’s IP to build its business as well. in fact, it was overture’s invention (bought by yahoo) that google used to make hundreds of millions and for which google paid overture and idealab nothing for overture’s patented technology (US Patent 6,269,361 (System and method for influencing a position on a search result list generated by a computer network search engine). oveture had to sue google just as viacom had to sue this week for a billion dollars.

google consistently innovates….and consistently also appropriates others technology in an effort to compete. consumers may well be the beneficiaries, but it is simply against the law to compete in this way. intellectual property needs to be respected. the end does not justify the means.

a says:

Re: Of Course, Attack those that do it right

Bob, I agree with most of what you say, but I think you have it wrong bringing in Viacom to your argument.

Viacom actually does do it right, according to your standard.

Google isn’t the one with the product, Viacom is. Viacom created the content, signed a contract (after not coming to agreement with YouTube) with another company and now expects YouTube to respect that and not profit from Viacom’s product.

Doesn’t matter that Viacom might lose out on YouTube’s traffic, thats their choice. And other people might be loading Viacom’s content on YouTube, but YouTube is profiting off of this. Banks are responsible for protecting against money laundering, bars get shut down when others sell drugs in their place of business, hotels get shut down for having prostitution going on, what makes YouTube immune? (especially when YouTube says that they have software that can prevent it, but will only use it with companies giving them money.

I totally agree with you on the build a better product and people will come though. Fact is, most people use Microsoft products because they are easy to use.

Neal says:

No, yahoo doesn't

No, Yahoo doesn’t use Google image search. Yahoo image search returns different, more revelvant, and a greater number of results than Google for the queries that I run. More importantly their image database is updated much more frequently.

Claim what you want there’s no way Google is serving up a different, more relevant, greater number of images or updating the database more frequently for Yahoo than they are for themselves.

That being said, it does seem that Yahoo utilized Google’s search technology for a short period a few years ago. Perhaps someone will confirm or correct that.

|333173|3|_||3 says:

Search engine incumbency

the major issue with setting up a new search engine is the huge amounts of data to be stored. To the first search engines, there were relatively few pages, and searche engines were simpler, and even the early form of google used less data than the current version of hte basic search software. It would be near-impossible for a new company to get the funds for the data storage, and htat is the only problem i see with google’s position in the market today.
If too few people use a new search engine, it will not get advertisers. Until it gets advertisers, it has very little money. While it has very little money, it cannot expand past the beta stage, and until it does that, people will not use it. they need to find a way to break this cycle to have any hope of ucess, no matter how good theier system is.
Just think of how few people normally use clustering engines like dogPile, Vivismo, clusty, and others, despite thier greater power compared with a secong generation search engine (i.e. one using some form of link-based analysis to rank the pages, with no other soring.)?

Bob Sadler says:

The point is still....

The point is still simple, instead of suing, calling your opponents a bunch of names, or anything else that we see going on in today’s business world, you should innovate, come up with a product that’s hundreds of times better, and then you don’t have to act like an immature child.

As for the VIACOM issue, let’s be real open about this. VIACOM didn’t sue GOOGLE until AFTER Viacom signed wth JOOST. The suit that VIACOM filed isn’t about the VIACOM clips on YouTube, it’s about getting people to come over to JOOST. Now, I don’t blame VIACOM for wanting to make JOOST popular, after all they signed on with JOOST. I do deplore though, the manner at which they are trying to accomplish their goal. IF Joost is going to be better then YouTube, and I don’t know if it will or won’t, then JOOST needs to stand on it’s own two feet (expression) and become popular because it’s a BETTER product, not because VIACOM closed YouTube thru the legal system. This is the kind of action that many other companies have taken that I find wholly offensive and without any sort of ethics or morality. I’ve said it before, I stick by what I say, if a company has a better product, they will be the one’s people go to. If they don’t, then they will stoop to suing or calling names. As for the legality of YouTube and the clips, that will be settled in court, but, I’ll say this, I would have been fully behind Viacom IF they would have filed this suit BEFORE they signed on with JOOST.

As for companies like GOOGLE buying other companies so they can “break in” to a new market or be competitive, I admit I hadn’t considered this aspect. On the surface, and without giving it deep consideration, it doesn’t sit well with me that any company would BUY a competitor simply to “shut them up”. Although, in the case of GOOGLE, this isn’t what’s happened. Google bought YouTube and kept it going. It gave YouTube the necessary influx of cash and status that YouTube could do more then it was already doing. If Google had simply shutdown YouTube and brought out it’s own brand of service, then I would be putting Google in the same light as the others. Personally I don’t see a problem with “breaking in” to a new market by buying a service. Unless of course, as I said, they merely do it to silence their competitors.

In closing, thank you for making me consider aspects of an arguement that I hadn’t thought of before, and doing it in such a way that it allowed for free and easy exchanges of ideas and didn’t drop to name calling and immature acts.


a says:

Bob, the problem is that I think we are talking about two different products. Viacom has the product, which is the content. YouTube doesn’t have any content besides what people upload. Viacom tried to work out a deal with YouTube (although I don’t know how serious they were in the talks) but they didn’t come to agreement.

So, they sold a product to Joost and will receive revenue from them, is it any wonder that they would not allow YouTube to have the same content for free? That doesn’t make sense at all. Personally (although I am not a lawyer) I don’t think YouTube qualifies to the provisions of safe harbor.

I do appreciate your point of view though, and agree with you on the name calling and the mud slinging.

Adam Jusko (user link) says:

Different, Not Just Better

Being different in some significant way is the only way to beat Google at this point, or to take market share from them. (Although partnerships help, too. What if MySpace chose a different search partner, or started up their own search engine?) Jumping up and down and saying “we’re better” isn’t working because people aren’t that frustrated with Google to begin with.

Our new human-powered search engine Bessed is not trying to be a “Google killer” by doing what they do better, but we are trying to be an alternative that does things differently, by offering human-written descriptions of sites and allowing searchers to comment on the results they see. No spam, a greater variety of results, easily understood descriptions that show you quickly whether a click-through is warranted—some things humans can do better.

And, hey, if we take 0.01 of the search market that’s big for us.

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