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Online File W8.1 Google and Company: Advertisement and Search Engine Wars - page 3 / 20

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Chapter Eight: Social Networks and Industry Disruptors in the Web 2.0 Environment

Online File W8.1 (continued)

Why is there such intense interest in Web search technology and winning the search wars? All these companies want to be the next Google, obtaining the profits and fame that Google has acquired. However, winning in this arena also is about power. Brewster Kahle, the founder of the Internet Archive, notes that 20 percent of all Web traffic goes to only 10 Web sites, and search engines dominate that list. He observes: “The level of mind space that provides is enormous. If you want to control the world, it’s essential that you be there” (Markoff 2004b).

How Does Google Compete?

Google is meeting the competitive challenges it faces head on. Google offers an expanding repertoire of tools in line with its core competency in search technology. The major tools are:

  • Froogle (froogle.google.com) is a product-comparison search engine for online shopping. A similar search tool is Google Catalogs (catalogs.google.com), which searches a database of mail-order catalogs.

  • Google News (news.google.com) searches news-oriented Web sites and displays stories according to a computer algorithm that rates stories based on how many news sites are publishing the stories, how recently the articles were published, and for searches, keyword occurrence.

  • Google Earth (earth.google.com) is a collection of zoomable aerial and satellite 3D photos of the earth that enables users to find information linked to geographic location.

  • Google Maps (maps.google.com) and Google Maps for Mobile (google.com/gmm) present countless maps of cities and streets around the globe. They enable users to get driving instructions from one location to another.

  • Google Scholar (schola .google.com) searches the scholarly literature, including peer reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts, and technical reports. Many hits are abstracts or citations, not full articles, and some are “cloaked” behind subscription-only journal subscriptions.

  • Google also has introduced Google Wireless (google.com/mobile) where search, maps, Gmail, SMS, YouTube, and GOOG-411 are available. Google Groups (groups.google.com) is where you can discuss online or through e-mail and create rich customized pages for your particular group.

Strategically, Google is leveraging its widely recognized brand name and search technology expertise into areas beyond Web searching. Sometimes these projects bring Google into direct competition with the EC giants mentioned earlier.

  • Google Print (books.google.com) is similar to Amazon.com’s “search inside the book” feature. Users can search by keyword

    • (e.

      g., “books about Nelson Mandela”) and then search for keywords or phrases within the books.

  • GMail (gmail.google.com) is Google’s offering in the huge Web-based e-mail market that is currently dominated by Microsoft’s Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail. GMail offers new services such as grouping related messages together and keyword searching through e-mail messages.

  • Google Mini (google.com/mini) is a cost-effective appliance businesses can use to deploy corporate searches that mimic the main Google Web search engine.

  • Google Desktop (desktop.google.com) searches the contents of computer files, e-mail messages, books, and even recently viewed Web pages. This is a dramatic improvement on the Windows “Find” feature, which only searches computer files, and then mostly by file name. Google Desktop preempts technology that Microsoft is intending to put into Longhorn. The strategic moves Google is making are all in line with its mission statement: “to organize the world’s information and make it universally useful and accessible.”

  • Orkut (orkut.com) is a social-networking service that competes in one of the fastest-growing Internet markets—Web sites that connect people through networks of friends or business contacts to find new friends or contacts. A Google account is required to sign in at Orkut (see Section 8.3).

Financially, Google also is proving to be very successful, reporting revenues of almost $3.1 billion in the third quarter of 2007. As of January 2008, its market capitalization is $190 million, compared to $143 million for IBM and $13 million for General Motors (quotes from money.cnn.com).

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