OK, I admit that this comes from me being in a particularly pissy mood just now. And I don’t hear anyone else ringing a bell for Google. But I’ll still defend my position that the goliath’s days are numbered. For two reasons…
First, to say it out loud – Google is a utility. Yahoo’s old tenacious hold on a minority of the search market - and now Bing’s – keeps Google from being a monopoly. But they are a utility. They transitioned from being a noun to being a verb years ago. That’s a sure sign of utility status.
Second, they’re pissing me off. Which matters not at all to them. But its not just me they’re angering. They’re upsetting major segments of the market. In fact, I’d say the only people they aren’t angering are the people who don’t understand the internet and Google’s place in it well enough to know that Google is behind many of the problems they are having, and why.
The fact that Google can upset so many people at once is derivative of their pervasive position in the market. That’s their strength and the source of the weakness, the cause of their ultimate downfall. They effect too many businesses and too much of business. And ultimately, when a company does that, the market bites back. And the market is doing that now and increasingly.
Here’s the fundamental problem with Google – the internet is their personal website. They don’t appear to have a website. I know they have webmaster tools, Google tools, Google images, and Gmail, and etc. but all that seems ancillary to their main website doesn’t it? And their main website appears to be one empty page with a search box and a clever graphic of whoever died on this date 100 years ago.
But of course, when you analyze it, the search box is not Google’s website. It’s their home page. The rest of the website, the ginormous remainder of their website, is dynamically built every time anyone in the world Googles. They have billions of pages all made up of the title tag, and description tag, and url, from other people’s websites. If someone looked closely at it, it’s probably at its heart a huge copyright violation. But we all accept it, even court it, because it gives us visibility, it gets us found.
But here’s the problem, Google’s search results page is their website. And they get to say what’s on their website. And that would be OK if Google weren’t a utility. And years ago when they built the business model, they weren’t. But today they are. Today they are Google Power and Light.
And that puts Google’s thumbs into everyone’s pies. And that creates too many opportunities for Google to piss people off. They have too much power, too much say-so. And with the unalterable certainty of algebra, the market will do the math, and see the light, and turn on them.