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It seems Google can't please anyone these days.
What is the root of it all?
a) The Florida update?
b) Big - just plain bigness (everyone loves to pick on the big guy)?
c) Poor management?
d) Public relations dept screw up?
e) Competitors planting seeds of division?
f) All of the above?
...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.
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.
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.
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?!
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.
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? :)
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.
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.
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.
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."
"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.
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...
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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....
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! ;-)