Is Google Really Evil? A Second Opinion

Why is Google so unstoppable, you Ask? Because internet users said, “Mahalo” to user-centric services, leaving the other Yahoos staring out their Windows in contemplation.

Everyone in our industry has an opinion about Google, but the unavoidable truth is that everything Google touches skyrockets in value because they pass the value on to us in the form of ad-supported, web-based programs. Companies under Google’s steamroller are either wising up to the paradigm shift or finding flexibility hard on the bottom line. Either way, they all wish they would have thought of it first.

Before you mistake this for a Google advertisement, allow me to remind you that they do not own our souls yet. However, I do feel as though we should recognize Google’s efforts to trump convention and improve upon the user experience, most recognizably by offering high-quality services for free. This idea of making people happy despite industry standards not only makes sense – it makes money.

Rewind ten years: Search engines are chugging along, providing links and pulling in some decent advertiser dollars. Then along comes an uppity upstart called Google, who rides in on a kitschy name, becomes successfully synonymous with “algorithm”, and presents itself on a simple, user-friendly webpage. The rub? Google developed algorithms which offered faster, more relevant search results, thereby revolutionizing the search engine industry.

Fast-forward to 2007: Google is filthy rich from an exhausting decade of creating/buying Checkout, Blogger, Adsense, AdWords Editor (thank you, Jesus), Docs, Video, Maps, Earth, Gmail, Orkut, and so on, and continuing to provide them all for free. Yet they’ve asked for nothing in return.

Now Google begins to pry the Big 4’s clammy, greedy grip from the throat of the Telecom industry, pulling up deep fences to give us more options with our cell phones and service, and all the search world will blog about is, “OMG, Google is a big scary robot buying up the world!”

Yes, Google will eventually own the world. Tough cookies. But realize that this is in the distant future, like after the war scenes in Terminator 2 future. In the meantime, we should be enjoying the benefits they offer and support their efforts to neutralize big business’ influence over our meager incomes.

“But Turner, doesn’t Google have a history of bad press and exploits, including Elinor Mills of CNET, the Church of Scientology, the Brazilian government, their Chinese search engine, and a myriad of lawsuits?” Indeed they do.

“Isn’t it a bit frightening to witness their unabashed scramble to collect and dominate all profitable personal information on the web, whilst their owners and motives remain shrouded in mystery?” Sure, yeah. We all have demons. I’m merely asking that we acknowledge the good, as well.

Look at it from my perspective: We all want a free internet with free media and free phone bills, but very few of us are motivated enough to create this digital utopia. Well, Google is the Little Red Hen baking the bread, and since we are not helping bake we should be appreciative when we get a bite.

What has Google taught us? To appreciate the free things in life. That when envisioning success to see the happy end-user instead of the Ferrari. And lastly, that you can turn any industry on its ear by taking advertiser dollars and spreading the wealth unto the public in the form of valuable tools that meet their needs of communication, education and fun.

If only I would have thought of that first.