Corporate Google and the Google of yesterday

Google is a corporate monster.

Whether its a nice and cuddly monster or a salivating grotesque entity that gives you nightmares all depends on your point of view really, but lets face it, its not the entity it started out as many years ago. In my time on line Google has been both a nightmare inducing beast as it has become more corporate in its structure and also in a complete reversal it is one of my favourite and most visited sites (if not the most visited site on line).

How have they managed to achieve this?

We are all a little familiar with the story of Google having started in a dorm in Stanford University, their overview and history is readily supplied on the Google Corporate Overview page so lets break it down.

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Point of fact, we tend to forget this when involved in marketing, indeed it is only in recent years that we have accepted it as a community and also as a result of Google having edited their search algorithm continually and never really telling anyone how it works. Its a simple truth that to work with them on this is not only beneficial to them as a service provider but also us, as users, developers, designers and marketers in both the long term and short. If it isnt good enough, interesting enough, or valuable enough then quite frankly it wont rank.

Or does it?

As a first step to fulfilling that mission, Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin developed a new approach to online search that took root in a Stanford University dorm room and quickly spread to information seekers around the globe. Google is now widely recognized as the world’s largest search engine — an easy-to-use free service that usually returns relevant results in a fraction of a second.

Right, that last bold line has various connotations. Firstly, Google isnt perfect, lets be clear on that, they know it but we tend to forget. Secondly, its easy to use yes, but low and behold, usually returns relevant results. Again, this tells us that google changes.  If they are not producing relevant results they will try to address it to create relevant results in order to satisfy the searchers needs.

When you visit www.google.com or one of the dozens of other Google domains, you’ll be able to find information in many different languages; check stock quotes, maps, and news headlines; lookup phonebook listings for every city in the United States; search billions of images and peruse the world’s largest archive of Usenet messages — more than 1 billion posts dating back to 1981.

Here is the reflection of the size of corporate Google today. Over 1 billion posts since 1981 (posts are being refered to as pages I would assume). Also bear in mind this was taken from the Google.com page and not the localised version for .co.uk or .es etc.

It was over this period that Google became a monster for me. I was continually working with clients who wanted to rank well but Googles tune changed so quickly and so erratically that it became more and more nightmarish to work with, to the point that it felt like you where not working with Google but against them.

We also provide ways to access all this information without making a special trip to the Google homepage. The Google Toolbar enables you to conduct a Google search from anywhere on the web. And for those times when you’re away from your PC altogether, Google can be used from a number of wireless platforms including WAP and i-mode phones.

Google’s utility and ease of use have made it one of the world’s best known brands almost entirely through word of mouth from satisfied users. As a business, Google generates revenue by providing advertisers with the opportunity to deliver measurable, cost-effective online advertising that is relevant to the information displayed on any given page.

This makes the advertising useful to you as well as to the advertiser placing it. We believe you should know when someone has paid to put a message in front of you, so we always distinguish ads from the search results or other content on a page. We don’t sell placement in the search results themselves, or allow people to pay for a higher ranking there.

And here we have the reason why I feel in love with Google and search again. It wasn’t actually Goole who fixed the problem, at least not directly. It was the development of the technology, the refinement of the rules and a settling down of the requirements that allowed honest web development to become a feasible option again. For the sake of a better term it was the creation of Web 2.0 and Social Media that made this user resurgence possible and now, it feels like we are somewhat in control.

The secondary aspect that created a corporate google was also the advertising medium and the refinements that have and are taking place with the placement of these adverts.  While quite unobtrusive in general, except on sites which surronded text with adverts of course, I have seen a noticeable difference in the quality and relevance of adverts served to me quite recently, for a change, not actually a bad thing.

So things are changing, Google is changing, people are changing and every single thing associated with search and websites is in a continuous state of flux. The pending emergence of web 3.0, the surge in users for twitter and quite possible a range of developments in the future will only serve to become either a part of the Google corporation or its competition.

Which would you prefer to see?