I was perusing the latest headlines from my company’s RSS feeds today and noticed that Google appeared in over 28 articles. Yahoo had 11 mentions, MSN only two. (Must have been a slow day…maybe they’re working on adCenter?)
If you’re like me, you’ve taken to blissfully glazing over every Google article, thinking, “It just can’t possibly get any bigger than this.” But then you realize, oh yes it can. And it will. In 2005 alone, Google introduced updates to their AdWords and AdSense pay-per-click system, launched Google Analytics, launched their API, Google News, Google Maps, Google Talk, Google Satellite, Personalized Search, Google Base, IPO heaven and a $127 billion market cap. Oh, and by the way, they bought a stake in AOL, too.
How did they do it? Simple: Innovative technology.
When I first started out in this industry, Google was just a tiny ripple in the big Search ocean, dominated by the likes of AltaVista, Excite and Lycos. I recently pulled up a press release from August 1999 and found the following quote:
“Our mission is to provide the best search experience on the web,” added Sergey Brin, Google president and co-founder. “Everything we do is focused on delivering the highest quality search results through significant advancements in interface design, relevancy, and scalability.”
Even in 1999, their mission was clear and concise: to provide the best search experience on the Web. With their clean and simplistic design, searchers gravitated toward Google for what it was, a pure-play search engine without the ancillary messaging suffocating the reasons for which visitors came to the site in the first place. And time and time again they achieved better results than their peers. Their methodology for spidering, scanning, indexing and ranking results always produced the most relevant results compared to the competition. In fact, I’d credit Google with our lack of attention span when it comes to search. We EXPECT the RIGHT results to be at the top of the page—and that’s because of Google. Their technology far surpassed the likes of the big competition at the time, and within a short while, market share eroded and once faithful followers of the old engine regime migrated over to the bigger, faster, more relevant search engine: Google.
But here’s the curious thing. In the process of building their reputation as the search engine of record, Google also built much more. When I think of Google these days, frankly, I don’t think of them as a search engine. I think of them as a technology company using search as a conduit to simplify life—to categorize, classify and provide the world with an easier way of finding information. Every other search company to date has failed to provide this as a means to an ever-changing lifestyle. And that is why Google continues to dominate.
I once read that technology is a great equalizer, but I find that it’s just as true that it’s a great divider, as well. Those companies that fail to grasp what technology can do will be forced to constantly play catch-up, or worse, become extinct. Google was founded on the basic fundamentals of innovative technology, and we see this is every application that they have launched. Look at the products released in this year alone and you’ll see that it’s true.
Google is an incubator of innovative technology backed by a solid brand. It will be interesting to see how Google matures over the next 12 months and what roads that they take to continue building their empire. Whether it is through portal growth like MSN or Yahoo, software application development like Microsoft, or through an emerging marketplace such as eBay, rest assured that we will be in for another Google-packed, press release filled year.