| 6:29 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)|
|...Incorrect. Google's customers are the people who buy Adwords. |
:D I was waiting for that answer. Being an adword advertiser myself, I am not going to say that you are wrong, but a case could be made that the customers are the searchers. For one, I doubt Google would ever admit to thinking of them as the product.
| 6:33 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)|
Though it may take months to years as with Alta Vista and Inktomi the final word about Google will be given by the general public using G's service.
If they are happy they'll continue to use the service, if not, they'll simply go to another Search Engine.
You can't believe the amount of people in our office how have remarked they can't find anything with Google anymore.
Two of our engineers had Google Bookmarks to matter relating to research projects from months ago. Following those bookmarks today is now not even on subject, much less on target. The same search in Yahoo still returns valid results.
The boys who started Google need to consider what it was that made them successful in the first place.
| 6:41 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)|
>If Yahoo does these two things, then they will be neck-to-neck with Google before Microsoft even has a chance to launch their new engine. Yahoo has a window of opportunity because Google is stumbling, and because Microsoft has no choice but to show Yahoo's results for perhaps another year or so. If Yahoo blows this one, they will have only themselves to blame.
I think that both Yahoo and MSN don't have future in general search business because they own lucrative services like autos, travel and real estate and others, and sooner and later anti-trust attorneys are going to catch up with them for using their search engines unfairly to harm their competition.
They will either spin off their search engines or will make them like yellow pages displaying only their and their business partners products. (Not much different from current situation but with clear marking that the entire serps is Advertisement.) In general search engine area, that people can trust to produce unbiased results, a few pure search engines might emerge to challenge Google.
| 8:12 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)|
I'd like to add that, whatever my concerns with Google - and I have a few - I still think GG does an excellent job. There's been talk about poor Google PR, but I don't think GG fits into that category.
I still think Google is money /advert mad recently, and this is behind most of the complaints.
And I'm gob-smacked that the old sausage about Florida being fundamentally about anti-spam is still being bandied about. I didn't think propaganda had such a long shelf-life ;) It was just a convenient excuse for many good sites going under. Don't forget, many of them came back - so were they spam or not?!
| 8:30 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)|
I think it is great that GoogleGuy is getting in on this thread, it shows at least one person over there cares what webmasters think (which recent actions don't show). Maybe even a few of the things that have gotten everyone so angry will be addressed, who knows. But either way, it is nice to see GG coming out and chatting about it. :)
| 9:34 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)|
Personally, this is one of my favorite threads in several weeks. Lots of food for thought for me at least. Scarecrow, I know that you and I have different takes on many things, but I appreciate your thoughts--especially when you put it with a little less acerbicism (?). I also felt better that you started up other *-watch.org sites; it makes things feel a little less personal if you take on everyone. :) Liane, I had no idea that that happened--I hope you're doing okay now? I'm cleaning my place, and I have to say that your two posts make me feel so much happier as I'm going around picking up today. I feel like the guy at the bottom of the pile who can see a little bit of daylight as the top person climbs off. :)
|wifi on the fly|
| 10:00 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)|
Thanks for hanging out and living this conversation up GG. I guess this is what sparring feels like. ;)
In the end for everyone, having 3 major players in the SE world will be awesome for everyone. It is more of a diverse group and it isn't all the same people coming to your sites as when Google owned the world.
This is competition and I can't think of to many more cut throat businesses that have such high stakes as this. As long as Google has traffic they will always be in business.
| 10:15 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)|
When anyone is that big, extra scrutiny is merited.
| 10:19 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)|
|Incorrect. Google's customers are the people who buy Adwords. The searchers are the product that Google sells. Never forget this. |
There's a bit of a terminology mix-up here.
Google provides 2 main categories of products / services:
Search results and Advertising.
These are the products!
You're right that Adwords purchasers etc. are its customers, you could also classify the searchers as customers in the sense that they receive a product or service, but because they don't pay, they might better be thought of as stakeholders.
But there's no way the searchers are a product!
(unless Google has an artificial insemination service in beta: Goo-GooGle? :)
| 11:33 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)|
GG, thanks for taking an interest in my list. The order was not an attempt at prioritization, although it probably was subconsciously. Keeping webmasters content should be the lowest priority because some of them are going to shout and scream whatever changes Google makes - if you're making an omelette your always going to break some eggs. If Google gets it right long term, then they will be singing Google's praises once again.
I must admit I'm probably biased, having a site that does well with Google, and is nowhere with Yahoo.
I put up a new page and in less than a week it's getting hits from Google regionals all over the world - fr, it, au, hk, tw, you name it. But my traffic from Yahoo (who Slurp me regularly) is pathetic, mainly I suspect because they are trying to force me (as a previous Inktomi PFI user) into paying for Overture Site Match.
| 12:13 am on Apr 12, 2004 (gmt 0)|
"In the end for everyone, having 3 major players in the SE world will be awesome for everyone."
I agree. More competition = everybody works harder = better quality results for users. That's the best way forward in the future to me.
| 12:31 am on Apr 12, 2004 (gmt 0)|
Harry M & Google Guy,
I think the #2 and #9 are essentially the same. you cannot please all the people all the time, there is only 1, #1.
However, that #1 position should be a darn good one. As a webmaster myself, I'm not upset with not being ranked high, just as long as the sites ranked above me are "at least as relevant".
So as long as the SERPs have the most relevant site ranked high, then the webmasters who complain, are just being greedy.
There's my 2 cents.
| 12:32 am on Apr 12, 2004 (gmt 0)|
Definitely agree. And it's not just trying to flog Google to work harder. Different groups bring different perspectives, try different approaches, implement different solutions, solve different problems, filter different jewels up out of the muck. I'd like to see the day when it's again worth checking out two different search engines to find useful sites.
| 1:06 am on Apr 12, 2004 (gmt 0)|
>In the end for everyone, having 3 major players in the SE world will be awesome for everyone.
Just like network TV? Where people realized that they were getting almost exactly the same news and spin from all 3. I hope that not only are there more indie major search engines in the USA but also in other parts of the world in order to have diversity in the presentation of information on internet. Currently the top executives at MSN, Yahoo and even Google look all the same to me, with similar backgrounds and world perspectives.
| 1:06 am on Apr 12, 2004 (gmt 0)|
Google's image problem is a common byproduct of becoming the market leader in an industry - you feel that you have to offer something new to maintain your position at the head of the field. Sometimes offering something new causes the company to forget about its core qualities that attract 99% of the customers. Coke did it when they tried to change the flavour. British Airways did it when they tried to change the tail designs.
Google's list [google.com] of advanced search functions is truly impressive. However, dissatisfaction is with what they started with [google.com] - that is to say an empty page with just a box that you could type words into to get a list of results.
99.9% of the general public still don't realise that there's more to Google than this. A recent article [news.bbc.co.uk] on Nielsen's research revealed that 60% of people search on a single term, 80% on one or two terms and only 3% use speech marks - probably the simplest 'advanced search feature' there is. Yes, the numrange search is an impressive feat of algorithm design, but what proportion of searchers is actually going to use it? Certainly the increased market share gained from special search features isn't going to compensate for loss in share if the basic search falls behind the competition.
If I were doing strategy for Google (you can contact me by stickymail ;) ) then I'd be saying "find out where the bulk user dissatisfaction is and get your PhDs on to addressing that, rather than developing great but niche features. Remember where you started - that's where your future success will live or die."
| 3:20 am on Apr 12, 2004 (gmt 0)|
Florida - Google averted the revolution, but some have forgotten to put away their pitchforks.
"I'd say Google has one fear and that will be Microsoft in a couple of years"
If a week is a long time in politics then 2 years is an eternity in search. If that is all google needs to worry about then someone at Googleplex deserves a big fat raise.
| 3:40 am on Apr 12, 2004 (gmt 0)|
Very difficult to quantify all that is going on at Google with all of our (marketers/webmasters/seoers/users) reactions...Using your list that started this thread..
>> With Google working to expand their capabilities/technologies and incorporting new technology purchases and methodologies (Applied Semantics)...changes are bound to happen..and with every change there are reactions...a search engine should always strive for absolute revelance...but a search engine has to continue to adapt new approaches to "attempt" to stay abreast of the growth of the internet...as a whole...extremely challenging problems that Google is working to solve and integrate into its offerings...and with the mindset at Google they have no choice but to continue to develop new approaches and technologies...it's in their blood..
b) big - just bigness (everyone loves to pick on the big guy)?
>> Big is easy to pick on...broad market exposure and a likely target for anyone's complaints (regardless of the actual source of those complaints)...taking the high road is not necessarily the way of business online when everyone is your competitor...
c) poor management?
>> Management is going to be a big issue when a company is as big and pervasive as Google...and with the entreprenurial/problem solving imprints of the founders trickling down through the organization at Google...managing a whole culture of innovation is going to be very difficult indeed...especially with a pending IPO and all the "standardized" methodologies in place for achieving IPO and the aftermath...
d) public relations dept?
>> I got a taste of incontinuity here with the recent AdWords problems...2 of my clients campaigns completely zeroed out for 2 and 1/2 days....back and forth with the Adwords Forum here and AWA (very helpful in this crisis) and email/phone support revealed two distinctly different messages regarding the "bug" that was pulling down sectors of the AdWords Servers...with the impending IPO and the directives coming through from the legal/pr department and any PR firm hired to manage this epoch event..."no negative" PR is the rule of the day...
e) competitors planting seeds of division?
>> Classic Microsoft tactic...attack the market with flowery ads and ongoing rhetoric about releases/product offerings and benefits therein...and then pull the marketplace apart from the backend to "insert" their offerings...or destroy the marketplace in the minds of the public so that "they" have the only solution...great that we have the "Open Source" movement...this will always conquer proprietary market tactics in the long haul...
f) all of the above?
>> Bits and pieces of each of the above....and my explanations don't even scratch the surface...
| 3:59 am on Apr 12, 2004 (gmt 0)|
"1. making money"
was always the answer.
Does Google's Top 10 give you headaches? Especially when the beast has so many heads.
For what it is worth your Top 10 has been as sound as a pound.
| 7:34 am on Apr 12, 2004 (gmt 0)|
IITian, I almost said something about having 20 major players would be better. I think there's a ton of room for different companies in different niches, and it's good to see different philosophies and the approaches that come out of that. Kartoo/Mooter/Grokker hit different UI aspects, Teoma/Vivisimo lean toward different ways of clustering, Yahoo espouses PFI as an insurance policy to guarantee crawling, Feedster/Moreover and a ton of others lean more toward blogs or news, Eurekster is trying search+social networking, Turbo10 has got customization of which databases to search, Nutch goes for the completely open-source approach, Dipsie is evidently trying to crawl into forms and the deep web, Kaltix was playing with personalization. It's a really interesting time, and I'm glad that lots of companies are tackling different parts of search.
| 9:14 am on Apr 12, 2004 (gmt 0)|
|Remember where you started - that's where your future success will live or die." |
I see no evidence for that. If you don't change with the times, you're dead. Think IBM and the opportunities lost to MS. Think shipyards. Think rust belts.
| 10:17 am on Apr 12, 2004 (gmt 0)|
|I see no evidence for that. If you don't change with the times, you're dead. Think IBM and the opportunities lost to MS. Think shipyards. Think rust belts. |
It's not about not changing with the times, it's about making sure that your number one product is the best on the net. For Google, the number one product is the results for the searches that 99% of users are doing and that's not advanced search features.
| 11:23 am on Apr 12, 2004 (gmt 0)|
|Wait until, the Xmas buying season and knock down all those at the top. |
I must admit, the timing for that particular algo change was catastrophic for a huge number of businesses, big and small. The Florida update nearly put me under as it was the beginning of my big selling season.
If it happened again, Google staffers would have to don disguises before leaving their homes! :)
I can imagine what Sergey might select as his favourite disguise ;) ... but how about GG?
| 2:55 pm on Apr 12, 2004 (gmt 0)|
I hope Googleguy shows senior management at G this thread. It's a pretty good summary of the mistakes Google has made over the past few months.
I believe their problems stem from not being able to respond quickly enough to mistakes, unintended consequences of Algo changes, or whatever you would call their actions starting with Florida. This is typical of businesses who grow too fast. As they place more people and policies in place to keep up, these slow down the process.
There's nothing in this thread that those in charge at G don't already know, but being able to see it all in one read may show them the extent of the damage done to their reputation, quality of searches and the loyalty of webmasters and searchers by recent actions.
I don't believe there is any conspiracy or intent involved here, just bad business decisions and the inability to correct them. The Brandy update was an honest attempt to correct problems with Florida and Austin, but there was too much damage and it came too late for many sites who had come to rely on Google over the past two years for revenue generating traffic.
I've read the "don't rely on only one SE" and other such advice, but many businesses came to depend on Google's traffic for their existance and did so by writng good, relevant pages for searchers not SEs. All the good advice out there on what we should have done doesn't change the outcome or the ill feelings in the webmaster community toward Google. Right or wrong, many saw Google as the only game in town.
Even though Brandy was a step back in the right direction, the days of just producing a good web site and being seen are coming to an end. If you don't understand SEO or can't afford to hire someone to do it for you, better find another way to sell your product or service.
I hope Google has learned from the experience and will slow the pace of future Algo changes and improve communications with webmasters. At present, Googleguy seems to be their only voice, although a good one.
| 7:35 pm on Apr 12, 2004 (gmt 0)|
When Google decided to start to accept ads it was very aware of the potential problems that this could bring in terms of its brand image. So those who make the decissions decided to make it abundently clear what were adverts and what were "real results".
I think that over time a couple of things have dawned on the guys at Google. First, most folks retained the Utopian image of Google and still loved the results and so accepted the commercialism. Second they realised that there's no point in being a little bit commercial. If you are going to be commercial you might as well go the whole hog.
So Google Inc may as well look for every opportunity it can to maximise the potential of its brand. Whilst there is a danger in doing this because it gives amunition to your enemies and your friends MAY turn away. At the end of the day if Google had half its current market share and maximised the potential of commercial opportunities available then it would be several orders more profitable than a search engine with 90% market share that dabbled a bit in advertising. Very tempting.
I fully support the Popes right to install condom machines in the Vatican. I just think that those folks who believed rational behind the edict not to use rubbers might feel a tad betrayed when they find out just how total the U turns is. This is the biggest threat to Google. I guess however that they have carefully researched this and beleive that they can stand the possible loss in market share because of the strength of the up side.
I wish I had Googles problems!
| 12:58 am on Apr 13, 2004 (gmt 0)|
"Googleguy, this is OT, but why oh why don't you let us get to your history of messages?"
blaze, twasn't me. I think Brett did that to keep that annoying scraper from copying my comments into his own little site/RSS feed. By the way, to the dude who does that: please stop. When I want to start my own blog, I'll do it. In the mean time, taking all my posts without asking me or asking Brett, then posting them with your own spin on it (which can be way off the mark)--it's just rude. And selling those text links for "search engine marketing" when you're copying my posts, well, that's just classy. So not that you've ever asked, but I'd like you to stop copying my posts.
| 1:13 am on Apr 13, 2004 (gmt 0)|
|So not that you've ever asked, but I'd like you to stop copying my posts. |
Wow - I always thought he had the OK. The TOS are pretty clear about that sort of stuff.
| 1:31 am on Apr 13, 2004 (gmt 0)|
|When I want to start my own blog, I'll do it. |
GG, you should start your own blog.
Psst, want to trade links?
Sorry couldn't resist :D
| 3:49 am on Apr 13, 2004 (gmt 0)|
At our annual Easter family gathering I saw my brother in-law searching with Google for Marvel Comic related content. He is a big Google fan and has no idea what SEO is. I asked him candidly "Over the last 6 months would you say that the quailty of Google is better or worse?"
His answer: "Definately worse ... interesting you should ask ... I was just thinking that as I was doing some searches today, were your reading my mind or something?"
The moral of the story: The big non-SEO non-Webmaster fans of Google are taking notice of the bad SERPS.
The big G is in Big trouble....
| 4:17 am on Apr 13, 2004 (gmt 0)|
>The moral of the story: The big non-SEO non-Webmaster fans of Google are taking notice of the bad SERPS.
That canít be. The Google cheerleaders have made it quite clear that G users are all idiots and won't notice the search result difference. G users are so stupid you could return results of the local zoo for every search and they would never even figure out there was an issue. They would gladly click on adwords after getting poor results like the idiot little mice that they are and be happy little campers, and they would never move to Yahoo or MSN search. Why? Because they are idiots and the only thing an idiot can type is the word Google into the search bar. Therefore you must have hallucinated this story. Google is fine, growing in leaps and bounds, best they have ever been. Rah! Rah! Rah! ;-)
| 4:39 am on Apr 13, 2004 (gmt 0)|
A major trend I have seen in SERPs is when searching for information i have no problems, when searching for commercial items or brands I find it harder and it requires more / different phrasing.
Maybe google is trying to niche itself. for example use google for information / research, use froogle for shopping.
Whatever googles strategy, I still use google and find what I want. I will consider changing engines when I dont find answers to my query on google and do find them on another engine. This is yet to happen, so I will stay with google.
| 5:36 am on Apr 13, 2004 (gmt 0)|
>Maybe google is trying to niche itself. for example use google for information / research, use froogle for shopping.
I hope it can be done effectively -- and wish them well in the attempt.
Seems like the old Altavista had something like that. There seemed to be two problems with theirs:
(1) At the time, I get the impression people couldn't figure out how to use it
(2) The affiliate spammers took the whole search engine down -- with what amounted to a DDOS attack on all the useful results. (Sort of like what Hotel-rezzers have done to Google.)
I'd like more powerful "reprocess" tools, but Google has so far aimed for simplicity instead. I end up going after what I want by more complex searches, or alternating between search and browse -- which usually works. (But I may not be the typical user.) If all the commercial results could be weeded out of my searches, I'd be much happier -- and obviously the commercial webmasters would be happier if would-be customers could go shopping instead of having to stumble over all those boring wikipedia pages.
And I don't know whether the general surfing population is ready to have to pick out a niche first. And after all, if you start fractally bifurcating your niches, pretty soon you look like, um, a directory, which is great -- for maybe 10% of users.
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