Does Our Disdain for Google Matter?

Every hour of every day of every week, there are articles bullet-pointing all the reasons to "hate Google," articles that seem to keep recycling the same ideas. In some ways, that's OK. There will always be an audience for these articles and the ideas they recycle, just as there will be one for the agency-bashing commentary that seems to draw from an infinity pool of sameness.

It is precisely because there will always be an audience that these articles are being written, titled and search-optimized within an inch of their lives. We digital people know how to write to show up. Case in point, on the agency-article front: In a piece on this week about agency-hating, the author suggests that you search "We're not an ad agency" (using the quotation marks) "and you'll get 16,500 results on Google." So, yeah, is there a larger good to bashing Google (and agencies), or is it just about maximizing your own blogosphere or search results penetration? Kind of like mentioning Lady Gaga somewhere in your copy or title -- you tend to come up in the search results.



Hating the Hand that Feeds You

If we are honest with our media-consuming selves, it is clear that the Google Empire has reached such magnitude, has seeped into our lives in such countless ways, that the hatred is moot. We can be uncomfortable and we can opt out; but recycled, droning hatred has no constructive outcome or greater good.   And, as business and marketing people, we know that Google management is part of the picture; we may as well devote space in our marketing plans and forecasts to reflect its factor in our success equation. It is where consumers are -- now on every conceivable platform -- so we must have some degree of commitment to mastering Google's part in how we fare there.

In fact, as consumers, we have a level of acquiescence with Google, thanks to its omnipresence, that is practically subconscious. We give data, location and open doors both voluntarily and involuntarily. Google provides ease, utility, applications, facility -- in many ways amounting to the switchboard and infrastructure by which we run our lives. We are approaching a world that is Internet-everywhere; we certainly are already Google-everywhere.

As both consumers and media executives, even though we joke about the "hate," we obviously regard Google with mixed feelings. Search started it all. Then came the ever-personable Gmail. Picasa came along and made photo sharing and tagging as easy waking up in the morning. Groups, an RSS reader, and blogging tools were cool new toys for the common man; Google Maps freed us from MapQuest; Google Apps gave small businesses and independents affordable business tools. Then there was Chrome, a seemingly lighter, gentler browser.  Many of these developments seem to be perpetually in beta, as they test their way into our default usage and exist as one large data net. Though sometimes they will fail.

Take Google Buzz, one of the first Google products that may have upset our collective consciousness. In this instance, the giant's handling of consumer data seemed to contradict the promises of its own privacy policy, as it was essentially using the data of opted-out consumers to populate its emerging social network. It is due to this squirreliness that this product failed. And now, the Federal Trade Commission plans to require Google to get consumers' opt-in before sharing their data, as you probably know. With our mixed feelings put to the test, with the recent news that Google is not planning to implement "do-not-track" functionality on future browser releases as Apple and Microsoft will, Google's privacy policy deserves our attention. 

Google's station in the industry has gotten to such a point that this probably will never be as simple as black and white; love or hate; opt in or out -- again. So, with Google so ever-present, the recycled railing against it is futile. Unless your purpose is one-trick-poniness.

1 comment about "Does Our Disdain for Google Matter?".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Roy Perry from Greater Media Philadelphia, April 25, 2011 at 3:01 p.m.

    Google's like oil - it powers and motivates the world while we all secretly or not-so secretly root for the alternative fuels being developed just out of the spotlight.

Next story loading loading..