• http://twitter.com/JadedTLC JadedTLC

    Google has forgotten that democracy is about choice, even if they offer things that are indeed “better.” Consumers want choice, not the illusion of choice.

  • Durant Imboden

    One question that comes to mind is “How do acquisitions like Frommers leverage Google’s strengths?” They don’t. Then again, some of the acquisitions, such as Frommers, may be less about becoming a content publisher than about adding premium ad inventory or obtaining a specialized advertising-sales team. Getting filler content for Google+ Local and related Google products may have been icing on the cake..

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=506058825 Zoran Knezevic

    you forgot about ‘flight status’

  • http://twitter.com/naowyzer Shiran

    And how exactly has Google taken away choice? All I see is choice with Google.

  • http://twitter.com/naowyzer Shiran

    Brilliant article. Id like to see Google partner more than buy companies outright all the time. But I guess you could build something better by not partnering…. after all Google does have some of the smartest engineers.

  • http://www.maxminzer.com/ Max Minzer

    I feel Google. They needed data. Some thought they asked too much and blocked their data. Google was in position of “OK, keep your data. We’ll create our own content.” and that changed a lot about their behavior and response.

    It’s true in real life and it’s true in business. No matter how strong we are – circumstances change us and we have to adapt. It might seem as we get more rough and there’s no excuse but… look inside, I guess.

  • Michael Sinner

    there is a major point you obviously left out. This trees you’r talking about are sometimes are evil trees. Closed system trees. Cutting down apple isn’t that much of a bad step, it’s the reason why the open system android is successfull. Sometimes you have to cut down the closed system to open the way for open things. Thats not bad, it realy does improve the ecosystem. The same is true if you consider more challenge in a market a benefit for all of us.

  • Pat Grady

    Danny, you get any smarter, we’re inviting you to visit our home planet. Shit, you’re amazing, for a human.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    Well no, they aren’t all evil trees. Buying Frommer’s removes a “tree” where Google sees an obstacle in having its own travel content, which potentially gets some of those who do own travel content off its back from accusing it of lifting their material. But it also gets Google closer to losing the forest aspect of being a search engine.

    You’re underscoring, however, the key point I’m making. It’s easy to look at each individual tree and find some “evil” reason to remove it. But when you’re done, you might have done more harm to the forest than letting it grow.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    I didn’t. Just didn’t name it. It’s one of many things in a list.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tormobritapaja Sandra Tormo Britapaja

    yes google is fuckin all i think they belive that they are internet ehehe arrogants…… im ansious of that a new search engine come and exceed it . i hate adwords too

  • Alan Nowogrodski

    A lot of this seems like a strategy to diversify risk while adding value. The interesting thing is that by merging all these products and brands together into “layers” of the same product they are in fact increasing risk. Google does not have dozens of product. its just GOOGLE. Damage 1 brand, and it all goes with it.

    At this point, Google is so big that only they can beat themselves. It’s just a matter of time.

    I can’t think of that many internet businesses that in their business plan don’t have Google as a potential threat….that’s a lot of enemies.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mitchell.espina Mitchell Espina

    This is a good thing for consumers, but definitely tough for business owners.

  • jnffarrell1

    I see it differently. Google has not lost its way. It is going about its mission of bringing knowledge that I’m searching for to me at the lowest price to me in my-time and my-money.

    Search Plus My World has saved me time finding stuff related to my stuff (saved on Google Drive) my gmail and gmail attachments, my Books, video I’ve watched. Every sensory input (songs, Colbert, Jon Stewart, NYtimes) influences finding what I’m looking for.

    To me, my time is more important than money. If I want to build a spreadsheet that updates regression coefficients every minute using Kron’s method of modified matrices. I want to see the equations this minute.

    Google can avoid being evil by building open interfaces for all the dimensions of knowledge based search including but not limited to: social, local, mobile and entertaining. But you have no way to replace my mental crutch if you take away SPMW.

    If you want to search from different points of view, you can cancel out domain expertise one expert system at a time, But Leave My Knowledge based search alone.

  • jnffarrell1

    Sorry I failed to provide a better connection to your article.

    Search in Context of where you are heading and what you want is the basis of adding the dozens of Apps of Content to Google Play. Bringing Google Earth, Maps, Street View (real world environment data) into search helps squelch false leads.

    It may look to some like unfair competitive behavior, but it is not. If I’m in search of sustenance I want knowledge from Frommers included. Others can Yelp all they want about not being treated the same as Google by Google. My advice to them is ‘do the work’.

    Google Books is in Play. Soon the written knowledge of centuries will not only be searchable, but it will also be personalizing my searches, including Voltaire and Fontaine to the consternation of EU regulators.

    I believe that Google is trying to smooth the off putting edges by reciprocal good relations with Apps like Facebook and Twitter. If Twitter, Facebook, Apple and others who seek to wall-off knowledge would negotiate mutually advantageous open interfaces in the near future, we’d all be better off.

  • Alan

    What happens when they buy a marketing news site or a search engine news site, because they feel they aren’t getting a fair go on the existing ones? Will they become evil then? What happens when no one goes to SMX anymore because all the relevant search engine information is on their own search engine news site and at their own conference ?

    What I am saying here is that it is a matter of perspective. The people who think they are evil are the people who have been innocently attacked by this behemoth.

    One thing we can all agree on is that google has become a totalitarian regime. They only care about themselves and they dont care about who they run over to achieve their goals. It is a publicly listed company as a such it is a sociopath. http://politicalloudmouth.com/why-publicly-traded-corporations-behave-like-sociopaths/ . Sociopaths are not technically evil. They just do evil things!

  • Sheldon Campbell

    Definitely one of your better pieces, Danny – very thought provoking.

    I’m still of mixed emotions on the issue of whether or not Google has taken a wrong turn.

    On one hand, businesses make decisions every day to diversify, whether to explore new ventures, support old ones or simply improve their offering. And as you say, the tumbling of each of those trees can be individually justified – it’s the sudden appearance of a clearing that causes concern.

    On the other hand, I do worry about the quality of the search results, when an increasing number of possible results are Google properties. To me, it’s as though Google has painted itself into a corner: they’re bound by their mission to be impartial, but by their business goals to act in their own interests. Between the eroding trust of their impartiality among users and the constant scrutiny by those pesky folks at the FTC, it seems as though they’ve put themselves between a rock and a hard place (I don’t even add the various EU witch-hunts to the mix… talk about paranoia!).

    Like many folks (and I’m pretty sure this includes you), I don’t like everything that Google does, but I can often understand their actions. I’d even go so far as to say that if I were on the helm in Mountain VIew, I might be chopping down the same trees. But your call to view the forest as a whole, rather than each tree separately, does give one a different perspective.

  • http://twitter.com/mikegracen Mike Gracen

    Title: How Google Wants ALL the Money


  • Neotester

    Yes, it is true and you’ve got it right: Google did suffer some changes. But, it’s, I don’t know, still that type of company which has proven us, as a sum of their around-Google-world. In the sence of really game – let’s admit 1st of all to ourselves that this is a fun company, it’s a fun company to be around (ha, wha’ about that one?).

    I actually feel pretty ‘in fashion’ with… my favourite domain: IT&C, while I’m enjoying daily Google products, happily. And I feel intelligent because they’ve got some pretty intelligent tools too, despite the fact, yes, it has definetely changed. But, somehow, just like you pointed out, it’s neither a bad or a good thing.

    And 2nd, in all fairness and I’m being totally honest with you when I’m saying this: I would go so far as comparing Apple and Google. Is Apple something you aspire? I aspire some Apple products myself, you know. Otherwise, I can’t understand why you can’t see that a company like Google just says “we’re young, inteligent and whatever will happen, we will provail” while Apple says “we know our stuff”.

    So, maybe you now have a more…certain understanding of the fact that, maybe you would like to tell me why you think it’s ok to compare Apple to Google. They’re both cool and Apple’s like most valuable company in the world in 2012 and Google, well, keep doing his thing: moving on with Android, bringing vanity URLs to his own social network. I was asctually wondering, when I first created my Google+ account, why is my profile just a jesus-loving-a-number?

  • Paresh

    As soon as Google went public all press wanted to talk about was single source of revenue. They have to diversify. So they have been doing that now and all press wants to talk about is how “evil” it is. If growing your business is “evil” then let’s bring back Soviet Union. When you grow there is going to be big target put on your back. Ask Microsoft and Apple. Facebook facing same music now.

  • http://www.smallbusinessmarketingsucks.com/ John Tabita

    Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon each started out as very different types of companies. Yet, as time’s gone by, they each find themselves encroaching on one another’s space, forcing them to compete against each other in some capacity.

    Of the four, I’ve always been most suspicious of Facebook. But over the past year, Google has become a close second. Unlike Apple and Amazon, who have products they want to sell us, with Google and Facebook, its users are the product. While I wouldn’t necessarily call that “evil,” it does cause me to be more wary of them and more suspicious of their motives.

  • Nick Krumholz

    Google has always been extremely honest about their #1 priority and it’s not content creators or website owners, it’s user satisfaction. In your article I didn’t read anything (admittedly I may have missed it) about whether the results they’re providing are better or worse than in the past and if users enjoy the experience more now than they did say, 5 years ago. As a company they’ve also done an amazing job at innovating and responding to threats from other innovative companies in the search arena. If they hadn’t made some of these moves (better image/video recognition, voice technology, providing direct answers, etc.) they could arguably be irrelevant today. As long as they continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible with technology (in particular software), I believe they’re on the right path. Amit Singhal has been the most vocal about what he thinks Google is becoming/will become and that looks like the Star Trek computer, in Amit’s own words, “that perfect loyal assistant there by my side, whenever I need it”. As a user I’m excited to see what they’re going to do next because I know it’s going to be something audacious. If I was competing or relying on them I would be racking my brain to figure out what is my competitive advantage, and how could I make a service that they would want to partner with, buy for a few million or how could I out innovate them.

  • daveintheuk

    Suggestions for alternate titles “How Google became a content destination without creating any original content or adding value”, “Why Google made Panda” or “Why Google will no longer rank what is best for users”.

  • SengMooo

    Well oK man that makes a lot of sense dude. WOw.
    Total-Privacy dot US

  • Hashim Warren

    What is Google? It’s an internet services company.

    Many of Google’s services exist solely to push the web further. Android was bought so it could push mobile web development further. Chrome was created so it could push web browsing further.

  • http://www.blackysky.com/ Ricky S

    every single product ”
    is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” I don’t understand your point … They are here to control the information because that’s the only way they can control the money…

  • Samuel Riksfjord

    And here I was thinking they were just supporting their ad business… Danny, great article, but it seems to me (and I bow to your wisdom and experience, here) that had Google not made these moves (defensive/innovative – whatever they are) they would have burned out years ago. They’re creating an eco-system that will protect their primary business model (ads) which means they have to move into new territories and own more and more real estate to serve a vastly more fragmented internet landscape (mobile/pc/browsers etc).

  • http://www.facebook.com/peter.davanzo.nz Peter Da Vanzo

    If Google diminishes the eco-system on which it is based – a diverse eco-system provided by publishers – then Google, too, will diminish.

  • http://thomashawk.com/ Thomas Hawk

    But Chrome is such a better browser than Firefox and IE, not to mention that Google+ is miles ahead of other social networks in functionality. I want better technology more than I care about companies feeling uneasy about Google being in their space.

    I honestly believe that Flickr is a better site today than it was a year ago because of competition from Google+. I think it’s GREAT that if Google thinks they can do something better in tech that they go out and do it.

    Without competition companies get lazy and don’t feel the need to innovate to keep market share. Google in your space is a wonderful motivator to start working your ass off to make your product better.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    They might have. A good example of this is AdSense, the first really serious conflict Google found itself in between its search engines and content (because it opened the company up to accusations it would favor sites carry AdSense). To date, Google’s never done anything I’ve seriously found to be favoring AdSense sites. And if it hadn’t done AdSense, other companies might have gotten stronger and hurt it even in the search space. But there remains that inherent conflict. I think the real challenge is, “where’s the line?” Is there anything Google won’t go into as deemed too much a conflict with its search operation?

  • Nick Krumholz

    What does “innocently attacked” even mean? Is Google not allowed to enter new markets?

  • http://twitter.com/kleptco Karl Klept

    Google’s initial success was predicated on a vibrant and preeminent web. Apple, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft each threatened that and were therefore met with Google initiatives. I don’t like seeing Google be this reactive but in each case, I don’t believe they had much choice and in the case of mobile particularly, I’m glad they did. A mobile world dominated by Apple would be bleak indeed. The result is they run the most fertile technology infrastructure on the planet and as long as they remain largely benevolent, can and should do amazing new stuff. My Google bias is part technological but also part a moral preference over the creep show that is Apple and Facebook.

  • Samuel Riksfjord

    Fair points, and I see what you mean. When they own the real estate, the ads and the content, they also get to decide where the line is drawn, and it becomes a question of how much the line has been moved in their favor. It’s hard to see that line as an outsider looking in, too. I guess all I’m saying is it doesn’t seem possible for them not to continually try and push the envelope on where they can serve ads and they have to go where the eyeballs are, i.e. mobile screens, apps, content etc.

  • Samuel Riksfjord

    Well said.

  • Alan

    Yeah? like iGoogle right? They jump into a space that Yahoo owned. Kill the innovator, the company that invented it and then when they have killed the original product, they go good and dump the product! Leaving millions of users in the lurch! That is the problem they are no longer innovative, they are just a Bully. Like Microsoft in the 90’s and early naughties! They leverage there resources to stifle other companies, not because they want to own a space but because they don’t want others to. Like Danny said much of this is motivated by fear. They think they are putting out brush fires, what they are really doing is snuffing out the flame of innovation. Google the Microsoft of the new millenium. If they carry on this way they will become the evilest company in the history of corporations. There ya go a Larry. That will be your legacy.

  • Alan

    It is allowed, if it is there to compete. Not to just snuff out the innovator!

  • http://thomashawk.com/ Thomas Hawk

    what does any of that have to do with me wanting to have a better browser? Chrome kicks ass over all the others. Why would I not want this? I seriously doubt Google will be “dropping” Chrome. And even if they did, I’d imagine someone else would innovate in the browser space from there. if Google forces competition I’m all for it. This is how consumers win.

  • quietstorms

    What a bunch of BS. MS had already lost to the web and Android was demoed before Apple’s App Store existed.

    What Google does is of their own free will. They’ve backstabbed partners along the way and now no major tech company wants anything to do with them. Having no friends is a dangerous place to be.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    Nelson, you should probably read my previous column:

    It covers how Google launched paid inclusion products in shopping, travel and financial areas — all issues you think I can’t touch and did.

  • http://landatelier.ro/ Alexandru Saru

    The boundary between the paranoia and the reality is so thin. The reality is that they have accomplished the very first goal – to offer the best search results as possible. The shadow of paranoia is getting more visible from the intention of institutionalization. Internet is not Google and never will. I am hearing a lot of rumors that the organic search results eventually would be replaced totally by the Ad-Words. Well I am very reluctant on that one but if the future would prove it right, well that would be the sign of the power tyranny. And the sharks are waiting every wrong move.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cromwellian Ray Cromwell

    What you’re lamenting is that Google is not longer just a Web crawler, and at the same time, making the assumption that if Google had done nothing, the world would still be just ten blue links.

    But it is increasingly obvious that more and more information is being locked away behind siloes that crawlers can’t access, so how can you organize the world’s information if you can’t access that information?

    How can you build a Star Trek-like service that can answer any query, in as few as steps as possible, if you must make your users jump through hoops to get an answer?

    The change in the market was inevitable and obvious in retrospect, and I think you really have to give Google credit for having the foresight to head off their competitors at the pass.

  • http://twitter.com/JadedTLC JadedTLC

    As a Google fanboi you will see choice with Google. Google is a search engine, not a content provider. But you may be the guy who LOVES that banks sell investments and insurance as well as maintain our cash. Remember 2008? Yeah, that’s why it’s bad. Clear lines are good in business. Competition is good.

  • Arturo Hernandez

    The author missed the boat. Every single big software company has dozens of products. And they have their first one that bankrolled the rest. The real question is if Google will be able to pass on their leadership to a new generation of CEO’s, and stay as strong as ever. When apparently Microsoft and Apple have failed to do that.

  • http://disqus.com/sdmitch16/ Steven

    In theory, eventually, the diversifications will generate their own revenue. News sites and portals generate revenue. Video sites generate revenue. Modifying an open source operating system (Android or Chrome OS) and patenting the modifications (How Apple created created it’s operating system) to sell to manufacturers generates revenue. Most of the things Google is doing could easily generate revenue someday. The real question is, will they bring in profit comparable to search’s.