Stephen E. Arnold: Google Goes Senile

IO Impotency
Stephen E. Arnold
Stephen E. Arnold

Google Investing Billions to Get Billions. Obviously.

I read “5 Google Projects That Will Pave the Future.” The title confused me. I think the author wanted me to think that Google was paving the way to the future. What I interpreted the title to mean is that Google wants to cover the future with Google’s own digital macadam.

The point of the write up is that Google is doing some big, speculative projects. Bell Labs used to do this, but without the fanfare. But there is a public relations and marketing battle underway among the giant companies that seek to monopolize markets if not the “future.”

The write up mentions Project Loon (the big balloons that will deliver Internet access to folks without the benefit of non balloon methods), Calico (this is the live forever stuff that recently experienced the departure of a nanotech self assembler due to some differing opinions), robots (mobile, smart gizmos that entrances the folks at DARPA), self driving cars (more time to surf the Web and consume ads in a vehicle), and DeepMind (more of the artificial intelligence hoo hah).

Good stuff for those who consumed science fiction, Star Trek, and Star Wars. The only problem is that those billions have to come from someplace. That’s a point overlooked in the Loon plus four article.

That’s why you will want to read “Dear Google, I Am Writing an Open Letter from the Search Wilderness.” The main point of this write up is that Google is investing considerable time and effort to generate revenue from its traffic. I suppose this is obvious to most Mad Ave types, but it appears to have come as a surprise to the author of this letter.

The passage I highlighted was:

It is now a directory of large public or soon to be public companies, who dominate every inch of our screens. I am sure we have all walked down many high streets with all the same chain stores and brands. This is Google Search today across many of the world’s markets. Gone is the opportunity to explore and unearth gems and engage with individuals on the world’s largest stage where a digital high street could have a thousand specialist shops with ease. There are sophisticated ways and means to search and uncover the unusual, the new and the people who care and services that actually work. But directionally, “Search” heads to the money instantly!

Note the phrase “heads to the money instantly.” Here at Beyond Search, I am indifferent to traffic, PageRank, speed with which Google indexes the content, and anything other than the topics that catch my attention. The reason is that I am retired and this blog is a way to fill time between walking my dogs and napping.

For the author of the letter, Google’s focus on money is, it appears, destroying his business. Well, that’s what happens when one builds on a free service. Personally I think Google can destroy as many businesses as necessary to generate money for:

  • Projects like Loon
  • Flying around to cut deals for Google Glass
  • Replace people like Babak Amirparviz (aka Parviz, Parvis, and Amir Parviz)
  • Paying for Google health care so some Googlers can spend three months in Stanford’s medical facilities
  • Paying for jets
  • Using Steve Ballmer’s running into the wall method to crack into money making television
  • Buying companies to amplify usage behavior capabilities.

These initiatives cost money.

I find the complaining in this open letter like King Lear’s howling in the storm:

Lets face it though, with so few slots its a money page now, not a joy to visit any longer!

Wow. Harsh. Google results are not objective and fun.

Here’s an even more subversive view of Google’s search system which cost billions to develop:

So quite interestingly the guest who has relied on Google to sort his problems and assist in his own search has been guided by Google’s very own algorithm to a hotel or holiday home that is not necessarily the best for him, at the best price or with the best amenities who often stands no chance of communicating with the accommodation provider until he has booked! Pay up and hope for the best as the business has no product knowledge, location familiarity, in depth business knowledge, controls or quality control in place!

And here is a thought that I have never entertained:

The consumer may just look elsewhere and try other search engines, as all he may see are the high street brands, the ones he was overjoyed to have dodged when the web was in its infancy and when Google Search revealed a whole myriad of exciting new places, people and products!

Well maybe.

The point is that Google is essentially operating as a country. The country’s productivity has to go up. In order to pump up the revenue, the altruism and baloney like “do no evil” or “make all the world’s information accessible” are shibboleths for monetization.

What I find interesting is that Google’s business model is not a Google invention. The idea for pay to play came from GoTo.com (Overture.com). Yahoo owned this company. Google was inspired by Overture’s revenue methods and Yahoo settled for some money in a mild dispute about the use of this monetization method.

You can believe in Loon. I believe in what Google does after 15 years: Sell ads. Last time I checked, the folks with the money can buy lots of ads. Folks who cannot afford to advertise need to find their future elsewhere.

If some Web sites get zero traffic, well, get on that social media tsunami. Google has a mission to deliver revenues and profits every 90 days. That mission does not necessarily coincide with that of others. If you are unfamiliar with this Google process, find and MBA and ask.

Stephen E Arnold, August 10, 2014