Google: Can it be Everything to Everyone?

Google is the new Microsoft but boy are they faster than Redmond ever was. Part of the reason has to do with the search engine leader’s access to the eyeballs of almost every human on earth via its home page but another reason for the blistering speed of the company has to do with the speed of innovation – which I recently described as (Moore’s Law*Metcalfe’s Law)/Patent Lawsuit Activity.

What we saw happen to Microsoft is telling. As they expanded into market after market like IPTV products like Internet Explorer and their mobile strategy seemed ever changing as did the name of their mobile operating systems. As a result, Apple and Google were able to virtually decimate the company’s mobile efforts while Google has made massive inroads in the browser market with Chrome. They made it safer, faster and simpler and users responded by using it.

Then there is the tablet market which Microsoft invented but never got right. They gave up and Apple not only became the leader in the space, we are still waiting for a real Microsoft response.

But Google is for the first time ever beginning to get serious heat in the press for its recent business practices. The first had to do with the company promoting its own service Google+ at the expense of what many consider to be more relevant result – and more recently for taking their eyes off search.

Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land had some scathing things to say about the company in an article which tries to determine haw a spam cartoon video made the first page of a Google search for the word Santorum.

It is worth noting that customers tend to be forgiving and after using Google for search for a decade and further using the company’s browser and possibly its operating system on your handset, you aren’t likely to switch to Bing over a few poor search results. But as Sullivan explains, this result which in reality has absolutely no business being in the results based on his analysis shows how something obvious slipped by Google. Coincidentally these search results come right after the company’s aggressive push to become your social networking hub through the Search Plus Your World (SPYW) initiative.

Microsoft has an interesting way of hanging back with its products, improving them incrementally and waiting for the market leader to stumble before they begin taking major share.

It is way too early to say this is happening but certainly the amount of negative publicity Google is getting along with new business practices which are making employees uncomfortable may be a sign of major challenges at the company.

But the reality is Google is doing a very good job of tying Google+ results into its SERPs and if as many believe, social is as important as search then they are being extremely shrewd and will be even more of a force to be reckoned with going forward.

The question we are left with of course is the same… Can Google or any company for that matter be everything to everyone?

While the answer seems like it should most likely be no, it is worth noting that the search giant seems to be paying attention. After all, interesting to note that my search on Santorum just now didn’t return the spam cartoon video but the 11th result was a link to Sullivan’s article.


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