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|Is Google Scared? Reactions or Planned Development|
When I look at some of the changes made at Google I wonder if they've changed their mentality from 'market leader', 'standard setter everyone wants to follow', 'simple and friendly' to 'what are we going to do to continue holding our visitors, revenue and market share'?
Many here have pointed out they are mostly garbage. We're these planned to be integrated all along, or were they integrated as a reaction to Bing?
Fading Home Page
Come on... Was this designed and planned well in advance, or was it a reaction to Bing being way 'cooler' than Google... (I have an idea Bing may be 'the choice of a new generation'(or one of them), because I actually didn't use it until a high school student said they tried searching for something on Bing and Google like it was expected for them to use both.)
Search by Submitting a Photo
Sounds like the use of some technology Microsoft developed I read about not too long ago, but don't remember where to cite the source. (Maybe someone else can shed some light on what it is. It had to do with Micorsoft's SilverLight technology.)
Long-term plan, or as Brett says, Bing Envy IOW a knee-jerk reaction?
People are against behavioral ad targeting, do they really think people want what are essentially behavioral search results by default?
Honestly, I think Google's started reacting rather than leading to some degree, because they're are definitely getting 'out cooled' by Bing just about every step of the way...
And what's even more interesting to me is they're not being chased by some start-up or someone they can buy out. They're being hounded and chased for market share by a company that crushes them in annual revenue and already has a worldwide user base, so I think they're going to have to keep doing it to keep up with the revenue pace they've set for themselves, because there's not much room for Google to go anywhere, except down...
Matt Cutts used to say when he asked people what they liked about Google they often said it was simple and easy to use... Maybe he should have been asking what they liked about the competition instead?
2010 could be an interesting year in the search market, me thinks.
|My prediction is that Bing will have the majority of search by July 1st. |
I think that's a little ambitious.
But, I'm seeing Bing more and more on TV, Commercials(verizons) and if Apple puts it on the Iphone, the writing is on the wall for Google.
based on the fact that google is pissing people off lately.
Yes they are, but there are no indications to suggest that any significant traffic shift to Bing.
|...there are no indications to suggest that any significant traffic shift to Bing |
You're looking at the wrong tree. The significant traffic shift is Facebook. Six months ago, they were #3. They're now #2, ahead of Yahoo, and close on Google's heels. Facebook will become #1 in the next few months.
Facebook draws people in and they stay in. The audience is not longer surfing the web; they are moving to social media and staying there.
How can facebook be compared with search, when facebook isn't a search engine?
I would guess it's because when one of my friends posts: 'Does anyone know a PHP coder who can do "blah"', they don't ever have to search for the answer... I often see questions posted by friends others answer negating the need to use a search engine to find the answer.
I must be hooked up with the wrong people then. All I get out of facebook is a never ending list of peoples achievements in various facebook games, mixed with a few "I'm cooking dinner" or "so an so likes so and so's status". I found it so annoying and useless I haven't been back.
|You're looking at the wrong tree. |
I don't think so. Facebook will diappear like all the rest of these flavour of the month websites.
|Facebook draws people in and they stay in. The audience is not longer surfing the web; they are moving to social media and staying there. |
Not true; actually in no way does that even make sense in my opinion.... Facebook isn't a search engine and having friends answer .php questions on facebook, in no way whatsoever, is grounds for facebook replacing search engines. Youtube has the 2nd most searches after google, and again, is irrelevant because it reall isn't a search engine.
My initial point was - the fact that Google is slacking big time right now, especially in the eyes of SEOs, is having a big impact on the faith people have in google.
When you make a living by SEO, and the most poular and most used search engine (google) is the majority of what you optimize for and also the ONLY thing that over half of your clients even give a sh*t about as far as rankings are concerned - it's a HUGE deal.
In my opinion, google bit off more than they can chew and for all we know "caffeine" may never even workout.
When people decide to switch search engines, it's not something that happens slowly over a period of time. It happens instantly.
If Googles new "real time" results begin delivering junk results due to people exploiting the feature and spamming, it will only be a matter of months before people tell others to "use bing instead"... Once somebody realizes some of the cool options offered by bing, they may never go back.
Here's just a few nice features offered by Bing:
-built in calculator.. Go to bing and enter any mathematical equation into the search bar and bing returns a result. ----> (3x5)8.5+8.5(10-7) and instantly you get and answer as the first result..
-type "what is" or "define" before any word or term and the first listing is a dictionary definition.
- the ability to track packages by simply entering the courier followed by the tracking #.......
I'm sure there's a ton more too.
Anyways, I dont want to ramble on anymore - I'm just saying that Bing is still very young and for google to be f*cking around with caffeine at a time like this could easily help sway searchers toward Bing.
If google wasn't scared, they would not have decided to try and improve their whole system immedietely after the release of Bing.
Without being biased (i do like google better) I really thing that Bing is more impressive. It has complete potential to take a big share of googles traffic and they know it.
|How can facebook be compared with search, when facebook isn't a search engine? |
It's not the "search", it's the traffic that matters.
Facebook is now the #2 website in terms of traffic. It has been growing steadily. It passed Yahoo a few months ago. It will pass Google and become #1.
And everything will change. No more "Make my site #1 in Google!" It's "Make us findable in Facebook!" There's no meta-tags in Facebook.
It's fundamentally different from Google. Facebook isn't about people finding pages. It's people finding other people and similar interest groups.
This doesn't mean it will get better. Facebook has worse corporate ethics than Google (yes, I know, that's pretty hard to beat.)
2010 will be an interesting year.
|And everything will change. No more "Make my site #1 in Google!" It's "Make us findable in Facebook" |
Quite honestly I cannot ever see this happening.
I don't see that happening either.. Facebook is junk.. There's definitely a demand from clients for a facebook presence - but facebook really doesn't do that much justice. I mean, what is facebook going to do for your e-commerce site? Nothing, because you can't sell product.
Also, facebooks business model is pretty bad.. Go to your profile and you can barely find your fan pages. For as much as they promote themselves, they sure don't deliver.
I'm down on facebook too. Self indulgent junk. Post about the current status of your relationship, or what you had for dinner, or whatever. It's not a community it's a gossip fest for attention wh0res. And that may be popular - but it's not likely sustainable long term and is not where people will go when looking for information.
Before there was facebook, there was myspace. And before myspace, there was probably something else.
|Post about the current status of your relationship, or what you had for dinner, or whatever. It's not a community it's a gossip fest for attention wh0res. |
You just described Twitter and look how popular that is now.
|And before myspace, there was probably something else. |
|Quite honestly I cannot ever see this happening. |
It's ironic that you make this statement, as earlier you asked "what took Microsoft so long?"
You basically paraphrased what Bill Gates initially thought about the internet and specifically SEs like Google.
Don't make the same mistake Bill Gates did (and he could afford to -- a billion times over).
We may not "get it" NOW, but as others pointed out,
one can't ignore the 2nd most visited site in the world and blow off what it COULD be in 3-5 years.
|one can't ignore the 2nd most visited site |
Well said, whitenight. I can't stand Facebook, Twitter and the like, and clearly they are not "search engines". But something is going on there...people are spending their online hours in ways that they didn't used to spend them. Whatever the element is that makes those sites sticky is one that will be extracted and added to other services. For example, it's not a huge leap to imagine a search engine that uses community and peer endorsement to enhance its results.
|But something is going on there...people are spending their online hours in ways that they didn't used to spend them. |
The difference is that they are spending hours not spending money.
|The difference is that they are spending hours not spending money. |
That's precisely what they were saying about the internet 13 years ago, when companies were spending all sorts of money on it, but very few were turning a profit. It wasn't that it was fundamentally unprofitable, it was just that we hadn't quite figured out what works. Same goes for social media now. Where there are people, there are ways to make money off them. It's just a matter of time before we figure out how to do it.
Google and Pay-per-Click has seriously warped the perception of marketing. Many people focus only on "be at the top of Google" + "lots of clicks" = "sales". This is last-click attribution: The click at Google produced a sale, therefore that's matters.
This is a simplistic understanding of what happens. For a few items, yes, there is a simple Buying Cycle model: Someone suddenly gets the idea to buy Lady Gaga's latest; they search, they click, they buy.
But for most products, there is a complex and long Buying Cycle. People realize they want things, but that realization was created by advertising and branding. Social relationships such as friends, peers, family, and co-workers all are part of this.
Social relationships (I'm not using the word "social networks", because you'll instantly think of online social networks) are by far the most significant factor in marketing and sales. A Forrester chart shows Word-of-Mouth has the highest trust when people decide what to buy (at the very bottom of the list: blogs. Yep, all that effort on blogs is mostly wasted.)
For the last ten years, we've focused on last-click attribution because it could be measured. Just like the joke about the little boy who looks for his quarter under the street light because that's where the light is, Google gets too much credit for sales.
By combining analytics, tracking URLs, and context parsing to social media, we can now track word-of-mouth. You can track what people in Ohio and Texas are saying about your brands and who they're saying it to. This finally casts light into how brands are actually seen and propagated by people (previously, only very large companies could afford polling and focus groups).
Many of you say "Facebook doesn't show dollars." Well, of course not. Word of mouth doesn't show dollars either. But it's the majority of the factor on why people buy your products. If you have bad (or no) word-of-mouth, a big SEO/PPC campaign won't matter, because people won't seek you out.
That's why Google has finally switched around to supporting brands and down-grading non-branded companies, vendors, etc. People prefer trusted brands by a wide margin (we worked with a large analytics company: they found unbranded terms get a 4X ROI and branded terms get a 12X ROI.)
People use Facebook to build relationships with their friends or their social communities. Luckily for marketing, that's trackable. They're not just "spending hours online"; they're building social relations. Those relationships have the highest trust when people buy. At some point, they'll decide to buy.
Then they search in a search engine, see the ad, and buy. Do you see? Google is at the very end of the process and had little influence over the decision process. They already made up their minds to buy.
Giving Google credit is like the 22-year old sales guy at a car dealership: he thinks that it's his skills that get people to buy cars. People had already decided to buy before they entered the car dealership. They decided based on friends, co-workers, their experience with the brand, newspapers, TV, and many many other factors.
Learn the Buying Cycle: Awareness Phase, Research Phase, Purchase Phase, Loyalty Phase, Advocacy Phase. Learn how these work. Build strategies for each of these. SEO and PPC (along with SM, Social Media) can be used in all of these.
So is Google reacting? or are we seeing planned development?
I'd say it's a bit of both, and mostly planned development, but it gets rolled out and announced at opportune times in response to the business and competitive climate. From the beginning, Google has been "all over the place" in what they worked on, a natural result of their 20% time. As the number of employees grows, so does the total number of hours and projects being cooked up in the back rooms.
How does some pet 20% project end up in production at Google? As I understand it, there's a strong peer review element, as well as some overall business guidance from management. But in contrast to many companies, not everything being worked up is always part of a grand plan. However, as I mentioned in the beginning, WHEN new things are rolled out, and HOW they get announced can be very opportunistic in the wider news cycle.
And yes, we do get some "very beta" roll-outs. Google has always had a reputation of rolling things out long before another company might and staying in beta for extended periods. There is also a strong "techno-geek" culture at Google that will give us new things just because they are technically cool. Then the market shows them whether there is lasting value or not.
So we've got a mix here. And the recent flood of new things from Mountain View gives us a look at both sides.
Beautifully and incisively explained Eurydice ..
I agree with Eurydice's analysis. In the context of "fear" that some think Google is manifesting right now, I think the company simply understands the reasons of its runaway success and also understands that it may not be sustainable in the long term.
The buying process right now is very peculiar indeed - to grossly oversimplify, people make decisions on social networks (and offline), then go to Google, type in keywords and make Google money with quantifiable clicks. Google gets all the credit, nobody else does, so far so good. But there are no guarantees this "arrangement" for the benefit of one party is going to continue this way - and Google probably knows it.
Therefore, having realized the precariousness of this position, however enviable it may seem to outsiders, they are starting to throw away any pretense of not being evil: they want to get into literally everything before some other disruptor (e.g. Facebook) disrupts the current process, heavily skewed to Google's advantage (see Eurydice's "last trackable click" argument).
The question is, will they do more harm than good (to themselves) with these wild moves? I guess, their thinking - after a careful risk and benefit analysis, I am sure - is that nobody is in any position to challenge them and therefore, no rules apply. Being engineers, they are probably technically correct: most can't do anything other than find another job. But the new model they are so frantically seeking may not be found at all. And they're certainly not going to elicit any sympathy from anybody if/when they finally stumble.
They are not idiots and they understand this, too. That's why I expect Google to put their PR flaks into overdrive to convey to us the benefits (real or imagined) of them taking over everything on the Internet and scare us a little with how dangerous everything non-Google is. The only company you can trust, really. Also, expect a lot more air traffic between Washington and Mountain View - they'll really need a free rein here.
I get the distinct feeling that most people have had it with google. I have.
Why doesnt every site owner simply drop all mention of google and put links up to bing and yahoo - a mix. It would be easy to hype up bing to the masses.
I think it wont be long before every listing on googles page 1 is a paid ad.
Weve got to get shut of them before that happens.
I think Google is starting to lose control of their giant algorithm to the point that they don't know who is bad or good anymore. That's what I think part of the problem is here. Search results are getting crappier and good sites are being dropped from their engines. If they keep messing around, people will drop them.
Google is ticking off webmasters and that's a no no. Those are the ones (along with marketers/spammers, etc) who decide which site will be famous next. I'm find myself using Yahoo sometimes, thing I never thought I'd ever do again.
[edited by: tedster at 1:13 am (utc) on Apr 3, 2010]
Thanks for spilling the beans here about the freely gained PR on facebook, about the only thing a clever marketer can do and hence the biggest cost saving one can do.
I don't like facebook or twitter either, boy if you play your cards right and have 1 million friends singing your products praises just for few weeks, you'll retire to join Bill and Melinda to support worthy causes!
|Google is at the very end of the process and had little influence over the decision process. They already made up their minds to buy. |
Yes, you may be right but in most cases they have not made up their minds who they will be buying from. That is where Google comes in!
|In Google's defense: I think you're being too harsh. Google does innovate quite a bit. |
Really? I thought much of their model was to buy up innovators?
To me, right now Google is a company truly struggling to be innovative and having a difficult time doing it.
On the backburner everyone loves a good war. And Google has been around a long, long time.
There is very strong psychology in supporting the underdog, you can see this at play all the time in politics.
|So is Google reacting? or are we seeing planned development? |
If one considers the huge investment in hardware, software & time that Google's Caffeine platform apparently has required to materialize, one may instantly conclude that Caffeine has been a very long time in the making (conception, study, application) and has been the result of a deliberate policy of indexing the web as massively as technically and financially feasible and developing such software as to be able to process such an immense volume of data, efficiently and in lighting speeds.
This has been a very ambitious pre-emptive policy on the part of Google, long in the works, with the objective of leaving competition far behind in the dust, and not a recent, short-term reaction to what competition has recently been doing.
It may be true that the Mayday algo determining results obtained from the Caffeine dump, needs extensive tweaking to return more relevant results, than the mess we are seeing today. However this job is for Google a routine task, they have done it over and over again in the past, they are the experts in tweaking even the most complex algorithm - and no doubt in a span of no more than 3 months they will have refined the output of Mayday back to good relevance.
Where does this leave Google?
In top spot, no contest.
Why? Google have gone back to basics & basic common sense: they have collected and do posses the data, and they have the wherewithal to return relevant results in lighting speed from this massive volume of data.
Yahoo and Bing, do not have the immense technical capacity (datacenters) and advanced know-how that Google now possesses, i.e. they do not have the capacity of collecting and storing the immense data volume at Google level. Their policy of trying to balance this reality by advertising, promotion and cool graphics is doomed to fail. These two "princes" are stark naked!
I have personal experience of the above facts myself, as follows. Being personally much interested in all aspects of Palladian Architecture, including English Palladianism, I have been researching extensively the subject myself, in all its aspects, including the collection of images of Palladian buildings and interiors, located all over the world. While Google was in a position of providing the information I was looking for in a satisfactory way (far from ideal) Yahoo in comparison proved a pittance - while Bing was little more than a JOKE, especially regarding images. What a crappo pathetic little place Bing proved to be regarding Palladio & Palladianism. The definition of NUDITY itself!
As Abraham Lincoln used to say, "You may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can't fool all of the people all the time."
Yes, no doubt, Mayday requires extensive tweaking, fast. But that's all about it.
Personally I think I would like more competition in the search market. I am not sure it has been healthy for users and advertsisers that Google has been so dominant.
Very much so!
However, Google has raised the bar to entry so high, that under the circumstances competitors may be able to claim only mere survival by following half-baked strategies, such as Bing seems to be following.
To challenge Google one-to-one under the current circumstances, requires great commitment and a full war chest, fully committed too. Who is prepared, or even capable, of doing this now, while at the same time Google seems fully committed to moving even further, in the field of "search"?
I honestly hate monopolies, and in particular the high-handed Google one. However, it must be granted, Google have gained their monopoly through technical and intellectual prowess - assisted by the incompetence and arrogance of their main competitors (Yahoo comes to mind . .).
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