The advance of Google seems unstoppable. As the biggest search engine in the world, its influence over the success or failure of brands is unquestionable. It’s purchased You Tube and is generating more revenue than ITV1. But when does having power become having too much power?
We asked the UTalkMarketing Editorial Board - Paul Mead, Managing Director of VCCP Search; Christy Stewart-Smith, Consultant to AMV BBDO; and Toby Roberts Head of Strategy, OMD UK – just what might Google do next?
Christy: Google are committed to organising the world’s information and operate as benevolent dictatorship rather than having a properly thought out moral compass.
Paul: Google have a certain amount of open policy that users can read about but they also have information that they will never release, such as how they index things. So you live by the sword, die by the sword.
Tony: Google’s involvement in the Australian election was fascinating and an obvious dry run to the American election. The idea of being able to search for the stated positions of any number of issues for every MP is groundbreaking. Suddenly everything you’ve ever said on the environment can be called up and users can see if, and how many times, they might have contradicted themselves.
Paul: Google’s dominance appears to diminish the further eastwards you travel but, in terms of their use of technology and the fact that there’s all this content out there, it’s making things more accountable.
Christy: In order not to be spooked by the whole thing you need to keep the faith that something will come up to challenge the dominance that Google is trying to create. Where can Google do in the future? The answer is almost anywhere.
Toby: There are other places a consumer could go like Yahoo! or Ask but the fact remains that for what consumers want, Google offers the best experience. There is still a real danger with the fact that they control so much. But because they are about consumers, they will go anywhere.
Paul: What’s interesting is when analysts look at the value of a company in current times. They need to understand how much of the value of their company is controlled by a third party, which has nothing to do with their company whatsoever. Take for example, moneysupermarket.com. I wonder how many of their analysts actually understand the value of the natural search listings for that business on Google. It probably accounts for 50 per cent of the profits of that company.
Christy: The kind of control that that allows Google has not been realised by financial analysts and is particularly true of moneysupermarket.com but lots of other businesses too. Find yourself ranking on the eightieth search page and your business is over. While Google still has a reputation for reliability, fairness and decency they’ll probably continue to succeed, and their competitors will probably try and destroy that
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