Anyone who publishes anything on the web is part of Google. Well, anyone who lets Google crawl their content, anyway. Which is just about everyone.
I told ya so
Lots of bloggers are saying that Google’s a publisher. To which I can only say, “Well, DUH!” I’ve been writing about Google-as-aggregator for a few years now.
Since Adwords became their cash cow, Google’s been a publisher. They build up impressions and clicks. They sell those impressions and clicks. They need more impressions because those impressions become clicks. So they do more and more to aggregate content and keep you on Google for an optimal amount of time.
I don’t know what that optimal time period is, but somewhere in the twisted tunnels of the Googleplex, someone’s doing the math: For every popular search, they know the number of pageviews the average Google visitor has to make before they’ll click one of those lovely Adwords ads, thereby depositing money in Google’s bulging bank accounts.
Until you hit that number of pageviews, Google’s going to cling to you like an octopus clings to its favorite rock. Er. Or something.
We are all Google
To make this happen, Google pulls more and more of our content onto their pages, with page previews (Bing’s idea, originally), local search, and fun stuff like their new credit card search tool:
Search for ‘Berlin flights’ and you’ll see another example:
When you publish content on the web, you’re providing content for the world’s biggest publication: Google.
A lost opportunity
I don’t blame Google. They provide an invaluable service by letting folks find more stuff more quickly. I watched my son do a middle-school research essay on Bolivia last night: In a few minutes, he learned their history, political figures and critical current events.
But this is all a lost opportunity for us. Even with Google’s aggregation, the search engine drives a lot of business for us all. If there were a decent competitor to Google, we’d all be part of two Googles.
Two major search players would have to compete more for users. And users might sometimes prefer to leave the search engine sooner, rather than later. That would mean more traffic driven to our web sites, and more opportunities.
For now, though, I want to point out that I for one have always welcomed our Google overlords. Please don’t eat me.