HighlyStructured.com is a blog website run by Mike D'Agostino about search engine positioning, online marketing, php/MySQL, tae kwon do, and various other topics.

The Problem with Google

December 11, 2005

Google is a great search engine. I would say I use Google for 95% of my searches and I always get returned websites that I find useful. Google is a great search engine for the general public performing searches, and that "sector" will always be the single most important factor in the company's survival.

Google has become a new type of business, the first seriously-taken "survivor" from the end of the nonsensical funding of new Internet-based businesses in the late 1990's / early 2000's. And for that reason, Google will definitely be written into the history books. But I believe they can do better, and will need to do better, to convince "everyone" that they are worthy of $500/share and beyond.

All businesses are now on a new playing field and the door has been opened by Google for other companies to walk through. The Internet is now ingrained into everyone's life, and any new technology that can be seen as truly useful will garner the attention of the general public. I know that other companies will develop a new application, some kind of network-based operating system/community, a new form of marketing, something that will be as big as Google. Other companies, such as Microsoft, have been around for awhile and probably have a chance to catch Google because of their stronghold on the market. There will definitely be others. Google has the edge right now, but just based on the competitiveness and general desire to make oneself better than the next person, other companies will emerge. And so Google needs to make sure they hold on to the attention of the general public, the people using the site for general searches, as long as possible.

The main problem with Google is the logo, and on a much broader scope, its image to the general public.

Don't get me wrong, I love Google's name. I don't remember exactly how it happened when I was younger, but one of my friends brought up the term "googolplex". We were very young, 7 or 8 maybe, and I remember looking up the term in a Webster's Dictionary. You'll the see the definition is: "the figure 1 followed by a googol of zeroes equal to 10googol.

What is "googol"? The definition: Etymology: coined by Milton Sirotta born about 1929 nephew of Edward Kasner died 1955 American mathematician: the figure 1 followed by 100 zeroes equal to 10100.

Whatever it is it's a really big number, and it's a fantastic name for a "mind-boggling" amount of something. And that's exactly what the essence of Google is, organizing and sifting through a mind-boggling amount of websites, Internet-related stuff, and just plain old data. I can't exactly put my finger on why googol/Google is such a great name, it just sounds like a lot, but in a kind of fun way. "oogle" sounds like fun, sort of like something you'd say to a child or possibly a pet. By putting the "g" in the front and applying (associating) the term with an enormous mathematical figure, it almost becomes a fantasy.

Now, it actually turns out that's exactly what Google was thinking. I think it show's how great the word is that I was able to associate the two and completely understand what the concept was.

So, I do believe in the concept of the logo, but I do not think the design will appeal to the general public. I think they are missing the "marketing appeal" that people look for; that "artistic flair", some kind of style, some kind of a direction. I just don't get that from their logo and image in general. They have the power right now to sweep people off their feet with some kind of advertising campaign, a facelift, something! I do not believe a bevel and drop-shadow will last.

Everything with design in it (interfaces, etc.) appear bland to me. The logo doesn't have an "Internet, futuristic, new-age" feel. The Google Ad-Words ads are not appealing design-wise. Why can't publishers have some kind of customization (border styles? dashed vs. solid line separators? something?) to integrate the ads in more with the design of their website? Look at Chitika! I would expect nothing more than the next greatest thing online from Google. Why are they holding back on this stuff?

I think Google had the perfect opportunity to reinvent, better yet, strengthen, their brand image when they went public. Instead of "quietly" going public they could have entered the scene as the company that would change the world. People already knew about them and they had themselves positioned as the "leader of the Internet", and they had everyone's interest because they were going public...I can imagine the commercial when Google presented its new logo...literally a curtain unveiling a new design and then the opportunity to create a reaction!

But Google has not chosen to go down that road. They still look like a well-organized college project which was more about the functionality with the look-and-feel taking second place. It's now time for them to graduate to a more (realistic?) view of a surviving public company which is based on survival of the fittest and ultimately, who has the attention of the general public.

At minimum Google has created a new category of "Mega-Businesses"; businesses that are in control and at the forefront of the Internet and have footprints in literally all forms of advertising. These businesses will be the next generation of IBM's and Microsofts and will control the direction, I believe, that the entire world heads towards.

And so the problem with Google is that they have raised the bar when it comes to the power of new forms of businesses, but they do not have the marketing and style appeal that the general public yearns for. Someone, some company will do it though, and become the next most powerful company in the world.

Technorati Tags:           

Recent Articles



Other Blogs of Interest