How would you rewrite Google's '10 Things?'
More and more people are using the M word -- that is "monopoly" -- to describe Google. Certainly there is an argument that, globally, Google has a monopoly on search. According to combined analyst reports, Google's worldwide search share is about 60 percent, even 70 or 80 percent in some geographies -- and that's just from the desktop or portable PC. Google also is rapidly gaining search share on mobile phones as well; 60 percent, or even more, in many countries.
Google's influence is a hot topic this week because of media mogul Rupert Murdoch's threat to put most, if not all, his content behind a paywall and remove that content from crawling by Google search bots. Is Google doing evil to traditional media publishers like Murdoch, by making their content easily available for free? In August, over at my Oddly Together Website I tackled this topic in post: "Can You Charge for News? Ask Google."
As Google's might increases, it's reasonable to ask how the company's business practices are changing and whether or not it can stick to corporate philosophy "Ten things we know to be true." Perhaps the best known is No. 6: "You can make money without doing evil." But can Google does this? That's the question I pose to Betanews readers.
I'll go further and ask: How would you rewrite Google's "10 Things" to more appropriately fit how the company conducts its business? I offer my list below but ask for your adaptations in comments. By the way, my revision is a bit hard-ass with a purpose: To generate discussion. The revised 10 Things don't necessarily reflect how I personally feel about Google, which otherwise gets knocked around in my revised 10 Things.
I got the idea to rewrite the 10 Things from a Twitter exchange, late yesterday. I tweeted: "Q: Does YouTube diminish if Bing Videos easily collects videos from many sources? If Microsoft taps in social sharing/networking?" Windows developer Mugunth Kumar responded: "I wish it would. Google videos is like too much inclined toward YouTube :-( "don't be evil, no non-google videos for you"!" I shot back a revised No. 6, which you can read below. With that introdcution...
Google's 10 Things -- As revised by Joe Wilcox
1. "Focus on the user and all else will follow" should be: Focus on the algorithm and all else will follow.
Google's core business is really about ranking the relevance of Websites. If keywords are any indication, the focus is not on the user. Keyword search is hugely inexact, and it's unnatural to how people look for things (e.g., they ask questions). But keywords are important to how Google makes money from search.
2. "It's best to do one thing really, really well" should be: Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
While cliché, the saying is appropriate to Google. In the early 2000s, Google did search "really, really well" -- better than any competitor. But end users and even keyword customers could still easily switch to another search engine (just type a different URL into the browser's address bar). Google extended its search technology and brand success by releasing many products with cross-integration benefits. Today, Google search is sticky, because of supporting products or services. Few of them are another thing done "really, really well," however.
3. "Fast is better than slow" should be: Slow is better than fast.
With the exception of perhaps Chrome, most Google products or services stay in perpetual states of beta before release. The development process is anything but fast. Gmail spent five years in beta. Exactly what is fast about that? The slow process allows Google to get something to market, while it's refined to reach a "good enough" threshold (see #10).
4. "Democracy on the web works" should be: Monopoly on the Web works.
Microsoft showed the power of monopoly when Internet Explorer tied to Windows ruled the Web. Contrary to democratic concepts about the Web, a minority of Websites account for the majority of traffic. Increasingly, the means for getting to these majors, and most of the minors, is search: Google search. And there's nothing really democratic about one company, or its algorithm, controlling access to most information.
5. "You don't need to be at your desk to need an answer" should be: You don't need another search engine to find the answer. Google is king of the search hill. Early on, this was because of its technology and keyword business practices. Google has extended its reach through its own services and by way of partnerships, such as being default search engine in every major Web browser but one -- Internet Explorer.
6. "You can make money without doing evil" should be: You can do evil without making money.
Other than search, most Google services don't directly make money. But they do take money from someone else -- what other businesses might call "evil." Google gives away for free something someone else charges for. For example, last month, shares of turn-by-turn mapping manufacturers plummeted after it was revealed that Google would include turn-by-turn mapping features with Android 2 for free.
7. "There's always more information out there" should be: There's always more information that Google can cannibalize for free.
The core dispute Robert Murdoch has with Google: He pays talented people to produce valuable content, which Google profits from through keyword search. Google doesn't produce content, but like a human parasite leeches nourishment (e.g. revenue) from the host.
8. "The need for information crosses all borders" should be: The need to index information crosses all boundaries.
Google wants to catalog everything. The practice has generated some corporate -- and even government -- backlash about privacy and security. Google produces none of this information, owns none of it, but looks to profit from it.
9. "You can be serious without a suit" should be: You can't be taken seriously without a suit.
Sure, regular Googlers dress however they want. But how does Google chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt dress? In a suit!
10. "Great just isn't good enough" should be: Good enough is good enough.
Few Google products or services are great, nor does the company strive to make them so. The majority, especially those competing with something already available, strive to cross the "good enough" threshold. When something is good enough for less or free, people will adopt it and even give up some more valuable that costs more. Microsoft has repeatedly demonstrated the "good enough" principle with its products, such as Internet Explorer in the late 1990s.