Smile everyone, because Google is on a summer road trip, and it's taking America's street-level group photo from cameras mounted on its fleet of Chevy Cobalts
(which I have taken the liberty of shortening to GoogleBalt
for this article). As this day-in-the-life view from the road is currently being captured, it's becoming apparent very early on that this is more than just an added tool to Google Maps.
I've been speculating on what the search results page might look like in 2010, with a more personalized, richer experience that brings many types of results onto the same page. How would the eye navigate a search results page that included more than just text-based Web results? How would we interact with images and video, maps and audio files, all interwoven on the same results page? How would advertising standout from the organic results? Would the Golden Triangle still exist? Would we still scan the results in an F-shaped pattern?
On Tuesday, InfoWorld published a piece by Ephraim Schwartz called "The Demise of Google." His basic premise? Verticals, with the capability of going into much greater depth on a given niche topic, could represent a serious challenge to the search giant. So is Schwartz right? Will Google's downfall come not from some upstart building a better mousetrap, but from a change in the way people approach search in the first place? I've set out to paint a picture of a world of predominantly vertical search.
It's getting harder to refer to Google as a single entity when it has so many faces. Any time Google makes some announcement, I'm tempted to ask, "Which Google?" Lately, Google has been revealing so many sides that I'm not sure Google as a whole could really answer that question. Does Google know who Google is? I'm reminded of Billy Joel's lyrics to "The Stranger." He writes, "Some are satin, some are steel, some are silk, and some are leather. They're the faces of the stranger but we love to try them on." We'll explore three of the faces Google …
Last week, aQuantive's shareholders allowed Microsoft to acquire it; the Federal Trade Commission already gave the green light to the deal on July 6. But Google-DoubleClick, a very similar case of a search giant looking to acquire a leader in online display advertising, still faces hurdles from Congress, the FTC, and public distrust. Google now stands accused of working toward a monopoly on online advertising, and of potentially threatening privacy through the use of personalized data to deliver targeted ads. Which leads me to my question of the week: Why has MicroQuant received none of the scrutiny that GoogleClick has?
What business is Google in? That question has been debated as much in the past two years as war strategies and national budgets. We stand just over 15 months from the election of the next U.S. president, and one thing is clear. Regardless of the debate around Google's business, it is clear that Google is in the political business right now.
Google is mastering the art of the low-key announcement. Increasingly it's been rolling out changes that have the potential to be fundamentally earthshaking with little or no fanfare and, to this point, it seem to be successful in minimizing the pickup.
In my last two columns, I explored a world in which anything and anyone can be found anywhere at anytime. Inspired by Peter Morville's Book, "Ambient Findability," I pondered how we'd arrive at such a place and whether or not it was truly utopia. As promised, today's column will feature some choice nuggets from Morville's masterpiece along with some context and application to the search landscape.
Could the rules for search engine optimization change overnight? It's unlikely, but you might have that thought after reading a column by Dorian Benkoil in the Jack Myers Media Business Report last week, "When Will Programmable and Semantic Search Replace Spiders and Web Crawling?" We'll play a round of "myth vs. fact" to give marketers and publishers a sense of what changes are really in store for SEO.
Last week, true to form, Google announced in no uncertain terms that it does not engage in behavioral targeting. Sort of. For readers who missed Susan Wojcicki's announcement last Tuesday, I'll fill you in on the facts. Then I'll explain why we can expect Google to engage in far more behavioral targeting in the future