Happy birthday, Goooooooooogle

In Monday's IT Blogwatch, we watch bloggers watching Google blowing out the ten candles on its birthday cake. Not to mention how Israel advertises GPS...

Juan Carlos Perez reports:

Google logo
As Google enters its second decade of existence with no apparent rivals for the search-king throne, industry observers warn that the company's biggest enemy may be itself.

Ruling the search engine market year in and year out is no easy feat, and Google is continually improving its search technology to better index Web sites, analyze queries and deliver relevant results.

However, instead of focusing exclusively on this search market, where Google generates most of its revenue via advertising, the company plays in multiple other markets. As such, it has to devote effort and resources to maintaining a host of non-search services that could potentially distract the company and affect the quality of its core search engines.

Today's Robert X. Cringely® adds:

It was 10 years ago today, Serge and Larry taught the band to play -- and the world to search the Net. Has Google truly changed the way we live on the Net? And is the search giant on the decline?

It hardly seems possible that Google is now a tween. But it's true: ten years ago, on September 7, 1998, Google Inc. was born. Back then there were a dozen ways to search the Web -- Excite, Lycos, Alta Vista, Hotwire, Yahoo, etc. -- none of them particularly good. I would go from one to another, trying and usually failing to find the information I needed.

Google changed all of that. It won the search wars the way you're supposed to win things -- by being simpler, faster, and better than everyone else. It quickly became my home page and that's where it remains.

The Grauniad's John Naughton:

[Chrome] is fiendishly clever. And, oddly enough, it brings us full circle - back to 1994/5 when Netscape, the company that brought the first major browser to the market, realised that the software could become the ubiquitous gateway to computing services and began to talk carelessly about the browser replacing the operating system. Microsoft interpreted this as a threat to its monopoly and set out to destroy Netscape - and succeeded.

Google's launch of Chrome provides an interesting echo of that distant conflict. It signals that it, too, believes the browser could become the operating system of the future. In that sense, it has thrown down the gauntlet to Microsoft - just as Netscape did. The difference now is that Google is a tougher proposition than poor old Netscape ever was. Looks like Bill Gates got out just in time.

Jessica Guynn talks to Marissa Mayer:

The Internet giant's first female engineer, Mayer is vice president of search products and user experience, directing the efforts of thousands of engineers and driving forward some of Google's most important initiatives.


"I think there will be a continued focus on innovation, particularly in search. Search is an unsolved problem. We have a good 90 to 95% of the solution, but there is a lot to go in the remaining 10%. How do we monetize new forms of content as they come online such as video, maps and books. How do we help content providers transition their businesses online and build healthy businesses."

But Michael Arrington disagrees:

Marissa says search is “90 to 95%” solved ... I don’t think search is even close to being solved yet ... There are so many areas on search that remain to be conquered. Semantic search. Real language/AI search. The deep web. Media search. Today search basically returns web documents. What I want is for search to complete tasks for me. We’re no where near that today.

We are just getting started ... it's like saying aircraft were perfected before World War I ... If search was 90% solved, Google could look at a picture of me standing by the Eiffel Tower and know, without textual metadata, what’s there. It could return results for a Barack Obama query that include all the videos he’s in, again without relying on tags or other textual metadata. Natural language. Deep web searches. Semantic search. All of these problems are unsolved.


But anyway, Happy Birthday Google. You’ve done a lot in ten years. Just don’t give up on search yet.

Catherine Forsythe adds:

One of the original employees was Marissa Mayer. Over the years, she has become the unofficial spokesperson for Google ... She has been at the hub of growing the fledgling company with a couple of Stanford graduate students.


As Google develops in what Marissa Mayer calls an “ecosystem”, it become indistinguishable whether she is a

technology executive or an advertising executive. The roles may be identical.

Harry McCracken looks way back:

The most important company the Web has known to date is turning ten. When, exactly, is up for debate, depending how you do the math–but the blogosphere seems to have decided to mark the anniversary this weekend.

If you want to understand how a venerable Web site has evolved over the years, there’s no better tool than the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, which caches old versions of sites.


Pretty amazing that a site can go from an obscure university research project to one of the most influential, profitable enterprises on the planet with so few changes to the look and feel it greets you with, no? (Boy, do I hope the day never comes when it kills the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button–though I do wonder how many people use it these days.)

Nick Carr reminds us what Google's really about:

The company ... remains an enigma despite the Everest-sized pile of press coverage that has been mounded around it. People can’t even agree what industry it’s in.


But while Google is an unusual company in many ways, when you boil down its business strategy, you find that it’s not quite as mysterious as it seems. The way Google makes money is straightforward: It brokers and publishes advertisements through digital media. More than 99 percent of its sales have come from the fees it charges advertisers for using its network to get their messages out on the Internet.

Google’s protean appearance is not a reflection of its core business. Rather, it stems from the vast number of complements to its core business. Complements are, to put it simply, any products or services that tend be consumed together. Think hot dogs and mustard, or houses and mortgages.

And finally...

Buffer overflow:

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 22 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him on Twitter, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email: blogwatch@richi.co.uk.

Previously in IT Blogwatch:

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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