Google is Quietly Consuming the Internet

Apr 16th

TechRepublic asks "Will the Google revolution engulf IT departments?" Each time I write a newsletter, about 80% of the items are about Google. They keep innovating faster than other companies their size. Here are some examples of things they have done over the last ~ 2 months.

  • Changes organic search results based on prior search query.
  • Added a search box for site search inside the search results, giving Google a second taste at displaying ads even on navigational queries for a specific website.
  • Started crawling site search forms on trusted sites, which (along with sitelinks, universal search, Youtube, and branded video ads) distributes more traffic to large trusted sites and business partners, with less traffic going to smaller websites (search keeps getting more editorial).
  • Offered App Engine, which provides free hosting to developers (in exchange for being stuck on their network and letting them spy on your usage data and growth).
  • Created a marketplace for people building on the Google network.
  • Begun policing widgets not on their network, a topic that deserves its own post.

Not only are dumb companies buying into the everything Google strategy, but even some semi-intelligent ones are. After logging into Dreamhost recently I was shocked to see them integrating Google apps and email on all customer domains. What happens if/when Google buys GoDaddy? How does Dreamhost compete when Google gives away hosting as a loss leader?

There is big risk to Google consuming the web. The issue is not only information diversity and innovation, but what happens when your Google account gets hacked? I regret my reliance on Gmail, but am unsure how to fix it.

Published: April 16, 2008

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Comments

April 16, 2008 - 9:25am

I was shocked to see the Google options in the domain creation panel when I dropped some new domains in Dreamhost this afternoon.
They had even preset them to 'yes'.
Bandwidth may be one of a hosting services' major costs, but it seems foolish of them to just give away their business like that.
Yes, its probably sensible of them to offer it as an option, but bury it in the dialogs!
If I were to take the option, I would have to ask myself just what I am paying the host for...

April 16, 2008 - 9:26am

I also find all this scary Aaron. It's essential to preserve diversity as well as choice. Let's hope some of us wake up soon...

April 16, 2008 - 9:36am

I noticed the Dreamhost endorsement “Google Apps @mydomain.com, including Gmail, Calendar, Docs, and other tools: FREE!” Also note that you have to opt out of Google apps every time you set up a new domain. I wonder how this benefits a hosting company?

Every now and again I get pangs of fear about the amount of information I keep giving Google (as well as social networking sites). I keep meaning to get my own email client instead of gmail and to pay a nominal amount for an analytics license but everything is just so easy and free with Google.

When explaining this Google dominance to my father he said "there are far more important things in the real world to worry about." I think that people are unaware or don't care about the implications. In a wider context Google consuming the web is an issue and yes businesses should invest the relatively small amount of time and money to be independent but does it really matter enough to the individual for them to take action?

Also does anyone have any more news on Google's g -drive?

Cheers

April 16, 2008 - 12:21pm

"Begun policing widgets not on their network"

What did you mean by that?

April 16, 2008 - 1:05pm

Dictating the ways people can link, etc.

April 16, 2008 - 12:25pm

The wonderful thing about having more than one giant company in a field is that other giant companies will only allow them to dominate it to a point. So far Google has been very successful with their apps, etc. I'm sure this will continue for some time but...

At some point other players will be able to get some competitive traction. Something always happens to reshape the dynamic. Be it something Google does, or innovation by someone else. Competition just seems to work things out sooner or later.

April 16, 2008 - 1:54pm

Yup the whole Oatmeal widgets fiasco is out of hand. SO I cant make widgets anymore and link back to the website the widgets are offered on? Dumb

I also agree Aaron this all Google internet is waaay scary.

April 16, 2008 - 2:45pm

I like the idea or one username and password for all my online services. I am one of those "Google Everything" people. I think Google is doing a good job of listening and anticipating what it's customers want and need in online services. I am willing to be subjected to advertising (I ignore it) for free services in return.

While you make some interesting points and you have raised my eyebrow, I still fail to see the problem(s) here. People have a choice to use Google or not. Google is going to continue to expand their reach and will continue to evolve its products and services until such efforts fail to gain and retain customers.

Google is the best out there right now, and until someone comes along and knocks them off their high horse, they get to call the shots on the 'net. The situation isn't so different from Microsoft and the OS industry up until a few years ago. We all see where that is headed now (as I type this on my Mac).

So far Google's changes and products have had a positive effect on my internet experience. As long as that is the case I will continue to use their products and services.

April 16, 2008 - 2:57pm

Pay for private email, analytics, document storage...

Welcome to a world where you have to pay for privacy.

April 16, 2008 - 3:26pm

I'm honestly not that worried (yet) especially when you list the last 2 months of changes and how they are either transparent to 99% of users or don't even effect the core Internet user base.

What does concern me is Google's buying of bandwidth, Google's seeming dominance in the legal system and all of the lobbyists they now have in Washington. Now, those are items you need to worry about and keep an eye on.

Plus, I think you're looking at this through the eyes of the webmaster. The normal Internet user still has plenty of options outside of Google. Yahoo! Mail, Flickr, MS Office/OO.org and not creating a Google Account (or even not signing in when you search) are all still very viable options. If you're proactive on social networking sites, you can still make your profile private yet still reach the people you need to while keeping your data in that network's "silo".

April 17, 2008 - 1:16am

I think as a publisher who watches rankings and is a power searcher I think you get a more complete picture of the marketplace, and you better understand how they influence traffic flows, thought diversitity, and profits.

April 16, 2008 - 7:44pm

http://www.nonlinear.ca/blog/index.php/2007/05/30/recent-acquisitions-ro...

While the above article is from May 2007 it gives a good snap shot of who's buying who. Google is not the only one out there in acquisition mode.

I agree with rustyc "Something always happens to reshape the dynamic."

April 16, 2008 - 8:09pm

Can you provide a link to more info on the widget policing subject?

April 17, 2008 - 1:03am

Hi Crashtested. This post here is a relevant start.

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