Google Are Not Human. Stop Treating Them Like One
Last week saw the celebration of Google’s 15th birthday. You read that right, in just 15 years Google has grown from a couple of dreamy Stanford geeks buying up cheap hardware and attempting to crawl the entire Internet to becoming a $289 BILLION behemoth. With an air of nostalgia (I was 11 when I first used Google. You do the math), I have inadvertently ended up in a career where ‘Google’ is a word that exists in my daily vocabulary. I preach a discipline that is arguably largely governed by one company, I read about the changes at this company like it is them who I am working for and bizarrely I get angry at the announcements that they make.
I exist in an echo chamber with a continuing focus on watching every which way that the needle points towards where Google’s future is. With the announcement of the ‘great Google’s’ 15th birthday I think it’s worthwhile to stop and take check of everything that’s come. In this post I will try to cover some of the key turning points in Google’s history and then, together with the State of Digital’s lovely reader-base, take a stab a what their next step might be? Where will Google venture to next?
Google’s Timeline of Success
Whether you chose to agree or disagree, Google are a modern marvel. A company that truly represents the ‘modern renaissance’, a technological revolution that is far greater than the individual sum of its parts. This is a cause for celebration, not frustration or anger. We live in an incredible age of philosophers, scientists, and visionaries that sweat from the pores of the all encompassing power of the Internet. Forget debate or debacle, and below I have listed what I deem to be Google’s greatest and most impactful changes to the world (not just the world of digital marketing):
- AdWords – 2000
- Google Images – 2001
- Google Books – 2003
- Google Local – 2004
- Gmail – 2004
- Google Maps – 2005
- Google Analytics – 2005
- Google Translate – 2006
- Google Acquires YouTube – 2006
- Google Streetview – 2007
- Android – 2007
- Google Chrome – 2008
- Google Chrome OS – 2009
- Google+ – 2011
- Google Play – 2012
- Google Glass – 2012
As you can see by the timeline above, Google have always had great aspirations, ideas above their station perhaps, but who’s to argue that these didn’t pay off? I, for one, am not. However, inevitably with a company this huge they have accrued a list of advocates and enemies. Some that worship the ground that they work on (just try getting into an Android vs. iPhone debate!) and others that loathe almost every announcement they make…
Scanning through Google’s list of mergers and acquisitions, shows us that in a company so big, it is us that is at fault trying to relate to them on a level that is at all human. So just stop trying to reason with or justify their algorithm changes, their latest acquisitions, their reporting of 100% (not provided) in keyword referral data, or their mottos (‘Don’t be evil’ anyone?) and just let them be, attempt to overcome what is important in your universe, not theirs!
Google Facts That Will Make Your Pants Go Funny
So, you still need convincing? You shouldn’t, and here are just a a few facts that will emphasise their dominance and why we shouldn’t relate to them on ‘human’ terms…
- About 97% of Google’s total revenues come from advertising. (Google Investor Relations)
- 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. (YouTube Statistics)
- The Google Display Network serves 180 billion impressions each month (about 6 billion a day!). (ComScore)
- According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults aged 18-34 than any cable network. (YouTube Statistics)
- Of 236.4 million smartphones shipped globally in the Q2 of 2013, Android powered 187.4 million. A 79.3% of global market share, (up 10.2% YoY). (International Business Times)
- Google display campaigns reach 80% of global internet users. (Google Think Insights)
- In 2012 they assisted 1,873,910,000,000 searches globally (StatisticsBrain)
And courtesy of Dan Barker:
@NedPoulter Paul Buchheit apparently pushed forth the “don’t be evil” motto. He left long ago.
— dan barker (@danbarker) October 2, 2013
Google: Video, Mobile, Living Room, LIFE
While their achievements are of epic proportions, and I say this with no hesitation, the biggest inroads I have witnessed have been Google’s integration with lifestyle itself. Think about it for a moment…
- What do you do when you first wake up? – Check your mobile (Android), read your email (Gmail),
- What do you do when you’re looking for somewhere to meet a friend? – Check for directions (Google Maps), check what the place looks like from the street (Google Street View)
- What can I do to entertain myself this evening? – Open your Internet browser (Chrome) and search for awesome cat videos (YouTube)
Numerous amounts of Google’s product launches and acquisitions have seen it (in my opinion) doing 2 things:
- Google defending their position in the mobile market
- Google trying to secure a position in the [Internet] TV market
Google’s ambitions have lead them to have a wide and varied list of competitors, after all they exist in such a broad range of verticals (massive business in their own right) that it isn’t Bing, Yandex, Baidu that are their competitors, it’s the likes of Yelp, Microsoft, Apple, Samsung, NASA…?!
As we have seen, Google are too big to simply condense into a column on ‘what Google did right/wrong’, they are too far-reaching, too inexplicably huge to quantify simply by arguing over:
- Why they have restricted referral keyword data to be reported at (not provided)
- Why their paid ads now populate most of the above the fold organic search space
- Or why, why they replaced their lawnmowers with goats!?!
Love it or hate it, they are a different beast. They are not the lifeblood of SEO, or online marketing, anyone who is a true believer in their talent or the discipline they work in should already know this. Google is, to many of us, a way of life, a source of our wellbeing, a damn handy tool in our day-to-day lives. Google is your best friend, your worst enemy, and your most trusted lifestyle resource.
So now it’s your turn. I’d love to hear from you:
- What you believe Google most impressive moves have been?
- What have been their biggest slip-ups? (Google+ anyone?)
- Where do you think Google are headed in the future?