Why Google Owns the Internet

Why Google Is Taking Over The Internet

This is one of the huge welcoming signs for Go...
Image via Wikipedia

Ever see that movie or have that recurring dream where the slow moving sloth-like monster is chasing you and there is no possible way to lose him? Even though he moves slowly and clumsily, as soon as you trip and fall he will be on top of you to engulf you. That’s Google and why they will continue to own the internet. Every time I turn around Google is turning out something new. They don’t need to advertise because they have such a vast and hungry following with appetites almost as voracious as Apple fanatics.

No too long ago Google entered the affiliate marketing market. I haven’t checked on their progress in awhile but it’s kind of like a big fat guy jumping in the pool–everyone feels the ripples. They also have been rolling out that Google wave thing. I’m not sure about the progress there either. Not to mention Google Buzz. Oh, and who can forget when Topeka Kansas wanted Google to rollout their broadband in their city that they offered to change the city name to Google?

I really believe Google is too big for their britches. Remember search engines like altavista and lycos? If Google pumps out great products, that’s great. But where is there customer service. If you have any problems with Google at all is like being kicked out of the party by a 300 pound gorilla.–good luck getting back in. I think I’m going to try their customer service in the next day or 2. Wait, do they even have customer service?

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There’s A New Internet Sheriff In Town

I Think Facebook Just Seized Control Of The Internet: “

The opening keynote at Facebook’s f8 conference today in San Francisco was short and sweet. But don’t let that fool you. It contained some huge announcements pertaining to how the service will interact with the broader web going forward. The three big ones: social plugins, Open Graph, and Open Graph API, make Facebook’s intentions very clear: they want to be the fabric of the web.

Erick already outlined Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s perspective on this from his keynote, but perhaps more interesting was some of what Platform Lead Bret Taylor had to say. The most interesting thing Taylor said was that Facebook’s stance is that social connections are going to be just as important going forward as hyperlinks have been for the web. Obviously, as the largest social network, Facebook to some degree has to believe (or at least say) that. But today, and really over the past several months of huge growth, Facebook has given us all a reason to believe that may be the case.

And if that’s so, Google had better watch out. There may be a new sheriff in web town.

Right off the bat, Zuckerberg rattled off some impressive numbers. While we all know that Facebook has over 400 million users (and it appears to be approaching 500 million rapidly), he also said that the service is growing at a faster rate than ever before. That’s fairly insane. He also noted that while it took the service 5 years to get to 100 million users, it took only 3 years to reach the same total in terms of mobile users. And in the past year, they seen that number grow 3x. Perhaps most impressive of all is that in just one year, Facebook got 100 million people using Facebook Connect. And that’s why everything they announced today has a real shot at completely transforming the web. Because everything they’ve announced (and specifically, Open Graph) seems to be like Facebook Connect on steroids.

All of this may sound grandiose and a bit frightening, but that’s why it’s ingenious the way Facebook is using Taylor. As he explained on stage today, Taylor used to work on a “small social network called FriendFeed” (which, of course, Facebook acquired last year). While he’s now a key member of Facebook’s team leading this new strategy, he used some of his keynote today to talk about his experience working on a startup with Facebook Connect.

He noted that at FriendFeed they found that the key to getting users to stick around and keep them using the site was that they had to connect with five friends. Unfortunately, when you’re a startup with not very many users, that’s extremely hard to do (yes, even just five). So FriendFeed implemented all types of logins and email contact lookups to try and help users find friends. The key to FriendFeed’s growth was Facebook Connect, as users were four times more likely to become engaged users if they signed up through that service, he said. In fact, if FriendFeed has continued on as an independent service, “we would have removed all those other signup buttons,” Taylor said. Yes, that includes Twitter and Google.

And lest you think his experience with Connect was all peachy, Taylor went on to explain that FriendFeed was constantly frustrated with how difficult Facebook Connect was to implement into their site. This is something that many developers have echoed over the past year. But with the new social plugins announced today, that all changes, Taylor promised. “I didn’t think the platform needed to be this complex,” he said. And now, apparently, it isn’t.

So that’s Taylor selling Facebook’s Open Graph to thousands of startups out there. And many are likely to bite. There’s no denying that social graphs are the key to a service being sticky, and there is no better social graph than Facebook’s.

Companies will have to choose whether to fight against this, and attempt to launch their own graph, or get in line. “When we connect our graphs together, the web is gonna get a whole lot better,” Zuckerberg promised.

Facebook launched some of this social plugin and Open Graph integration with several (30) large partners today. Just clicking around the web earlier, I ran into the new “like” button on CNN. It’s excellent; much better than the current share buttons which are slow and clunky in comparison.

In my opinion, Facebook still has a ways to go towards improving its actual site if it’s really going to be the long-term center of the web. (As in, the place you go to rather than Google.com.) But its claws for pulling in outside content are now razor-sharp. It’s going to be very hard for anyone to escape.

Over the next several days and weeks, we’ll undoubtedly hear why that’s a bad thing. Maybe it is. But maybe, if Facebook plays its cards right, the web will be a bit better because it will be more connected. Of course, that’s a lot of power for a still-private company to have. Let’s hope they know what they’re doing, and aren’t evil.

[photos: flickr/ingridtaylar and flickr/alan vernon]


What Would Google, Adsense & Adwords Do If There Was A National Ad Click Day?

What would Google do if there were a national ad click day–where everyone everywhere clicked on as many online ads as they could that day? Heck, we could even have an international ad click day…that would really mess things up. In fact, why stop with just one day? Let’s make it an ad click week, or month. Would advertisers have to pay for all those clicks or would Google’s “technology” be able to decipher which ones were legit? What about people with Adsense on their blogs? Would those bloggers just get screwed out of those commissions?

I’ll be the first to admit Google has a great search tool. But am I alone in thinking that they have gotten too big for their britches? Think about it. If you have Adsense on your website, you cannot even encourage your visitors to patronize your sponsors. What other business in the world tells their customers  NOT to visit or patronize their advertisers? Has Google ever unveiled or published the technology or algorithm they use to decipher legitimate from fraudulent clicks? Why isn’t it posted on their Adsense site? Who is Google to tell a user whether or not a visitor is legitimate or not? Does’t Google owe it to their advertisers on Adwords as well as their Adsense customers to communicate to them how they are getting paid? If I’m an advertiser, I want quality leads–but I also want as many leads or people looking at my product as possible. If  there were more clicks on ads, the cost per click would go down and actually decrease advertising costs. Google doesn’t want costs to advertisers to decrease because then they can’t gouge them as much. Isn’t price gouging in some industries illegal??? Gasoline comes to mind.

Google’s response might be that by publishing their algorithm that determines click fraud, they would be helping their competitors. Actually, they would be helping the industry as a whole and Their Customers! Google doesn’t want to publish that information because then both advertisers and website publishers would see how royally they are getting ripped off.

Google’s real product is their search engine. I don’t have any problem with them not sharing that information. If they did share their search formulas, and perhaps they already have, most people wouldn’t understand it anyway. Besides, there are only a couple other players in the search market anyway. By not sharing how they determine click fraud, they continue to support their own wide profit margins at the expense of advertisers and website publishers. That makes perfect business sense, as long as you support the idea of price gouging. Maybe the government should look in to whether or not there is any anti-trust stuff going on here.

Fortunately, although a bit late, there are other competitors on the pay per click scene that are emerging. Just to name a few: Bidvertiser, advertising.com, blogads, Adbrite, and Videoegg. Unfortunately, many ad networks follow Google’s lead by not disclosing their margins. Let me be more precise here. I am not asking them to disclose margins–simply publish how click fraud is determined. A publisher can merely compare how much they get paid from one network vs. another. However that can be very time consuming, cumbersome, and expensive.

Google, if you want to do your fans and customers a favor, share with everyone how you determine click fraud. I, for one, would like to encourage my visitors to patronize my advertisers. In the meantime, hopefully  some ad network will emerge with fairness and transparency–something that, in my opinion, Google has not done a good job of.

So what do you think? Should Google tell advertisers and publishers how they determine click fraud? What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing so? Please leave your comments below…

Google Explains What A Web Browser Is?

Google Attempts to Explain What a Web Browser Is [VIDEO]: “

Although Google Chrome is starting to gain some adoption in the Web browser market, it faces a fairly significant challenge in becoming the leader: many Internet users simply don’t care what browser they use (see: 25% still use IE6).

Moreover, many don’t even know the difference between a browser, a search engine, and an operating system. Google has taken on this issue previously with their “What is a Browser?” man-on-the-street style interviews, but today they’ve gone a step further, launching WhatBrowser.org.

According to Google, the site “gives even more information about browsers. On this site, you can see which web browser you’re using, explore links to browser diagnostic tests and read some useful tips for getting the most out of your browser.”

It was probably a bit of a pride swallowing task for a Google employee to put this all together, but below, the company’s attempt to explain the very basics of what we take for granted. As a bonus, Google’s rather amusing interviews from earlier this year.


Reviews: Google

Tags: Google, google chrome, web browsers

“G

Bing Continues Modest Gains

Modest Share Gains for Bing Continue: ”

Comscore’s monthly ratings are out and Bing continues a slow but steady gain in share, to the slight expense of Google and Yahoo. Bing has a massive marketing push on right now, but also, I think the service is starting to gain footholds with users who see it as a regular alternative to Google. I am also a fan of the recently unveiled visual search interface – I think it augurs some serious new – and useful – approaches to sifting through massive amounts of related data.

From the Thomas Weisel’s analyst coverage, sent to me in mail:

Google maintains dominance within ‘core search’ but Bing Nudges Up m/m at Yahoo’s and Google’s Expense: Core search excludes searches conducted on video, local and map portions of the companies’ websites. Google’s U.S. query share of core search queries was down 11bps m/m to 64.6% in August but increased nearly 1.3 percentage points from August 2008. Yahoo’s share was flat m/m at 19.3% in August and decreased 39bps y/y. Microsoft’s share increased 35bps m/m to 9.3% in August and up 89bps y/y. Ask.com’s share were was flat m/m at 3.9% in August but decreased 45bps y/y. AOL’s share decreased 14bps m/m to 3.0% in August and decreased 133bps y/y.

Our take: Google continues to dominate audience market rankings in the U.S. while Microsoft has shown some signs of stabilization and a modest uptick with the launch of Bing in June. Yahoo, while having shown signs of stability over the past 12-18 months, has recently started to lose market share again, declining from 21.0% in January to 19.3% in August. Taken together, Yahoo and Microsoft represent 29% of the core search market in the U.S., flat with the previous month. Microsoft’s new search engine, Bing, was launched at the beginning of June alongside an $80-100mn advertising campaign. This is the third month of data reflecting Bing’s impact. While the data indicates a very modest near-term bounce, we will be watching closely to see if any query pickup is sustainable.






Facebook Gains On Google In PPC

Watch Out Google, Facebook Is Gaining in PPC: ”

facebook ads.png

Alex Salkever has written a post on Facebok’s self service CPC platform, which has been getting a lot of traction lately and is largely responsible for the company’s recent boasting about being cash flow positive. From it:

I chatted with nearly two dozen people who are buying ads on Facebook. Many of them are also purchasing ads on Google (GOOG) and other online venues. The overwhelming sentiment? Facebook ads are actually more effective and do a better job of getting them in front of their target audiences.

The piece is worth reading and really contemplating. How many of you use Facebook ads? Do they work better than AdWords?






Google Acquires ReCaptcha

Google Acquires reCaptcha To Power Scanning For Google Books And Google News: ”

Google has acquired reCAPTCHA, an open source technology that provides CAPTCHAs to prevent spam and fraud. Captchas are those security questions you find on Web sites that require you to decipher and type words or numbers and detects whether the user is a human.

Here’s what Google wrote in a blog post about the announcement:

CAPTCHAs are designed to allow humans in but prevent malicious programs from scalping tickets or obtain millions of email accounts for spamming. But there’s a twist — the words in many of the CAPTCHAs provided by reCAPTCHA come from scanned archival newspapers and old books. Computers find it hard to recognize these words because the ink and paper have degraded over time, but by typing them in as a CAPTCHA, crowds teach computers to read the scanned text.

Google says that reCAPTCHA’s technology improves the process that converts scanned images into plain text, known as Optical Character Recognition (OCR). It sounds like Google will be using the technology to power massive scanning projects for Google Books and Google News Archive Search as well as for fraud and spam prevention.

In May, the New York Times reported that Google was developing their own type of captcha and also took notice of the potential of reCAPTCHA’s technology. Sounds like Google found it more effective to acquire reCAPTCHA’s technology instead of reinventing the wheel.

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