Google Now Just Another .Com Business

Google has finally made the complete transformation. They are no longer some kind of benevolent, altruistic company trying to help people learn and grow by providing access to knowledge online. Now, they’re just one of many .com companies trying to build some software applications and make a buck.

Here’s the story as I see it.

Google started as project by a couple of PhD students who thought searching for information online could be better. They built their tool, and proclaimed in the paper announcing their innovation that advertising has no place in search engines:

Currently, the predominant business model for commercial search engines is advertising. The goals of the advertising business model do not always correspond to providing quality search to users. …It is clear that a search engine which was taking money for showing cellular phone ads would have difficulty justifying the page that our system returned to its paying advertisers. For this type of reason and historical experience with other media, we expect that advertising funded search engines will be inherently biased towards the advertisers and away from the needs of the consumers. …we believe the issue of advertising causes enough mixed incentives that it is crucial to have a competitive search engine that is transparent and in the academic realm.

The sentiment soon was cast aside, however, once the Google guys realized they could make $10 billion in revenue per year placing advertisements alongside their search results.

Google also set out from the start to maintain two lofty goals: “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” and “Don’t be evil”.

The latter of these aspirations, of course, has been challenged — and breached — numerous times: privacy, China, etc. Few still believe Google, as a public company, really could maintain such a benevolent tenor.

But many of us held out hope that at least the wiz kids in Mountain View would preserve their commitment to organizing the world’s information and make it accessible and useful to as many people as possible. A difficult goal, but a noble one. But now, it appears, Google is on the verge of dropping that aspiration as well. Word on the street is that a new corporate tagline is being introduced: “Search, Ads and Apps”

Yawn. So, while Google is still about search (don’t forget who took you to the dance), their 2nd most important focus is adverti$ing, and then continuing to build applications to lure more and more users into Planet Google, with its requisite dataveillance threats.

Sounds kinda like a typical .com, eh?

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