Turns Out I DO Remember Something From College!
Oh Google, how I love to analyze thee! In the past couple of weeks or so I’ve been even more intense on answering one big question for myself – What the heck does Google want?!?! I am a firm believer that by giving what others need, you end up getting what you need (even if that “other” is a computer program). I came to the realization that my answer I’ve had in my mind all along was wrong (yes, I was wrong…lol) and the real answer came to me when I reflected on something I learned at my college orientation.
My College Orientation
Many, many years ago, I went to college (West Georgia College, for anyone who is interested). I remember something that was said during the big orientation meeting we had.
The speaker said, “Look to your left. Now, look to your right. TWO of you will NOT graduate”.
I remember thinking, “That guy is nuts! Of course I’ll graduate…and so will my friends on either side of me!!”
Well guess what? None of us graduated. Actually, I can think of at least 5 of us in the row that fateful day that didn’t graduate. Doesn’t say much, does it? Especially when the national rate for completing a 4-year degree is right about 50%. Or maybe we were all just a bunch of quitters…lol!
Anyway…. Let me get back to Google.
In any given place or time when there are other people around you – Look to your left. Now, look to your right. Two out of the three of you are already giving Google what they want.
Google’s market share was reported to be 65.5% in June 2011. That’s pretty much 2 out of 3, isn’t it?
Two out of three people that use a search engine use Google. That’s MAJOR!
No other search engine comes even remotely close to that. Google has a strong hold on the search business.
But why do they care?
Their main product… heck, their original product was their search index, right? But that, in itself, doesn’t make money and make stockholders happy.
Wait – money? Stockholders? What the heck do those things have to do with what Google wants?
Oh, a LOT!
You see, Google is a BUSINESS. They are not here offering all these free products and apps from the goodness of their heart. There’s a reason for everything they do.
Oh, wait… It’s their advertising, right? That’s their main product!
Well, yes and no.
The overwhelming majority of Google’s revenue comes from their advertising service (AdWords). In fact, in a recent post here at PotPieGirl.com, the infographic on that page shows that 97% of Google’s revenue is from advertising.
But let’s go further…
LOTS of companies and places online offer advertising. What makes Google so special?
And THAT something that makes Google so special is at the heart of what Google wants – and what Google does.
Yes, two out of three of us are already giving “it” to them, but Google really wants ALL of us to give it to them.
What is the “it”?
Every single thing that Google offers us for free…. everything they do to move forward…is all designed to get one thing. To get our information.
Google’s main product is NOT their search engine.. it’s NOT gmail or AdWords.
It is US.
WE are Google’s product.
The info we give freely via our use of their free tools gives them this amazing database of info that helps advertisers do better with their AdWords ads. The better advertisers do – the better Google does.
All the information that Google collects enables advertisers to put their ad right smack in front of VERY targeted audiences.
Tell me any other online advertising platform that does that AND has the huge majority of online attention from consumers.
The only way Google can do that is with OUR information…and the ability to continue to gather more and more information.
Anyone can offer advertising…but no one has the ability or the reach to do it like Google does.
Think about what Google is capable of doing. Wait, think about what Google has already done.
Let’s flash back a few years…
The US economy went to you-know-where in a handbag. One part of it was the housing market.
That wonderful thing called a “sub-prime mortgage” that enabled anyone and everyone get into an owned home went CRASH when the terms of those loans became unaffordable for those home-owners.
People panic in that situation (naturally!) So, what do they do?
Off to Google they go, searching for phrases with words like “mortgage” and “refinance”.
Google was charging $20 to $30 a CLICK for advertisers to put their ad right smack in front of these folks. I have no doubt that Google certainly cashed in on the fact that US home owners were in danger of losing their homes.
And for the companies that advertised there…companies like Lending Tree, Nextag, and LowerMyBills…yeah, I bet they did pretty darn well, too.
Google made a killing from our economy going bad.
But that’s business, right? Not everyone goes broke in a bad economy.
Google was able to make that money because of the information they gather and the ability to allow advertisers to use it to their best advantage.
Did You Know…
Did you know that Google had a big problem after it was revealed that their Google street view cars were also collecting a TON of information from homes and businesses that didn’t have a secure WiFi connection?
Oh yeah, it’s true (tho Google claims it was an accident).
It’s been coined the Google WiFi Scandal.
“Even creepier, it turns out Google was tracking who had wi-fi hot-spots in all the homes they were photographing. Street-by-street, your SSID names and MAC addresses for routers were being fed into Google databases. Note; the word “creepy” for this endeavor is from Google’s now departing CEO, Eric Schmidt, who admitted in an interview that a lot of folks may be uneasy with Google’s actions.
But creepiest of all —and where we enter the world of criminal behavior – those Google cars were apparently collecting personal information from those wi-fi connections, including full emails, instant messages and other data. Governments around the world are now investigating this illegal violation of privacy laws. Estimates are that Google wi-spy cars illegally took over 600 gigabytes of data from millions of individual homes, making the Google Wi-Spy scandal the largest global breach of privacy laws in modern history.”
Kinda creepy, huh? But that’s how important what Google wants IS to them. They want all the information that they can possible gather.
Know what’s crazy? The FTC dropped investigations into this WiFi scandal!
” In fact, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) dropped investigations into the wi-spy scandal last fall and documents that the Electronic Privacy Information Center just received through a FOIA request found FTC investigators describing the Google WiFi investigation as a “wasted summer” and hoped that a Capitol Hill briefing on Google WiFi “won’t be too much of a time suck.””
“Wasted summer”? A “time suck”? Really? Wow.
However, when you look at the amount of money Google puts into government lobbying – especially the major spike in the second quarter of 2011, well, you can’t help but wonder, can ya? In fact, some have speculated that the government is in on it.
All of this is Google protecting what they WANT.
So all this time I’ve been telling people that Google wants to protect their product – their search engine – and in order for us to do better, we have to give Google what they want – quality results for their searches.
I was wrong.
Ya see – yes, Google wants quality results when people search. When people search, Google gathers info. If their search results are NOT “quality”, people stop searching on Google AND that means that they stop sharing their information.
When their product (ie, we the people) become unhappy with the results on Google search or with ANY Google product/service, we go somewhere else and Google loses their product (ie, we the people AND we the people’s information).
We the People, in order to form a more perfect Google….
We are Google. It is “We The People” that made Google as powerful as it is. Granted, they DID create the technology to gather all that info and offer free products that the majority of us love to use…but it still took US to make them a powerhouse.
I think we should all be offered free shares of stock in Google 😉
At least get paid for our time using Google products! (I won’t hold my breath on either of those ideas)
While I was collecting information for this post, I came across a great post at DailyKos.com. It’s titled: “You’re Not Google’s Customer — You’re the Product“. It’s really good and a highly-recommended read.
In fact, Congressman Steve Scalise (R-LA) entered that very article into Congressional Record during a hearing on Internet Privacy.
He was quoted as saying…
“I’d like to get your take on this article I read, “You’re Not Google’s Customer, You’re the Product.” It lays out an interesting scenario of who is the customer and who is the product. In many cases, you are the customer if you go into a store and pay money. In some of these cases, not just with Google but all these companies who have this kind of business model, are you really the customer if you aren’t paying for anything and your actions on their website is what is used to go sell advertising?”
Totally something to think about, isn’t it?
I’m going to leave you with something else to think about – and it makes all of this visual for you (found it at Marketing Pilgrim)
To me, this clearly depicts how every move Google makes is designed to gather info and get their ads out to as many people on as many devices and platforms as possible.
Google uses the info from We The People so they can advertise better to and make more money from We The People. Brilliant!
So take a look at the image below and scroll through it.
Yep, it’s a BIG infographic, but I really like it. Take your time, really look at it…and then let me know what you think.
I’d love to hear your thoughts!