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Friday, August 17, 2012

Google Mobile Triumph from Ed Dale's Perspective

Google's Problem.

Ed Dale writes: "Google has been facing a major battle on at least 2 fronts.

The biggest problem Google is facing is the way Google creates it's search index.

It's fundamentally broken.

For 13 years, anchor text and the pages they point to were the fundamental building blocks of Google.

This made perfect sense for 13 years, as links became the way people navigated the web.

Along came Facebook and Twitter and changed the game.

The only people who create links these days are traditional media, Digerati, and spammers.

No real person who has an opinion or likes a site will create a link. They will click a like button, they will retweet, they will use a hashtag. They will not create a link (in the traditional sense!)

The sad fact is the vast majority of links created in the world today are manufactured links purely for the purpose of SEO rankings. As a result, Googles results have become worse. If you want to test this, try searching for a hotel in a foreign city!

Google's not stupid, they've seen the writing on the wall for years. This is well documented in Stephen Levy's excellent book "In The Plex".

Google knows, to stay relevant in this day and age, they need real social signals fromreal people. Where Jane Smith checks in using foursquare is much more important than a link generated in a high-tech sweatshop in Costa Rica.

Google is locked out of the two biggest indicators of what real people like and are interested in.

Facebook has never given it's most valuable data to Google (Although Bing has access to this information) and in the past 12 months, Twitter turned off its real-time feed to Google…

To combat this, Google has created its own "social network" – Google+.

The mistake people made, including yours truly, is looking at Google+ as a social network. Something to compare with Facebook and Twitter.

This is wrong. And it took Google Now to show me the light.

Before we explore this, let's address problem two.

How Smart Phones, and More Importantly, Siri are kicking Google's Ass.

Google is full of incredibly smart people. When they got wind of the iPhone, they knew what it meant. If Apple held the gateway to search through these personal devices pretty much every single human being on the planet would eventually have, Google was history. As we now know, Smartphones are well on the way to becoming the primary computer device for most people, Google were in all sorts of trouble.

And this was before Siri…

By Christmas next year, a full 50% of all searches on the planet will be made from a smartphone. Think about your own behaviour, I suspect most of you reading this will be using your smartphone way more than you use a computer. When you start looking at what Jack and Jill Smith are using, the answer is certainly a smartphone.

Google created Android to make sure there was an alternative to iPhone. It was the move Google had to make.

I believe this saved Googles bacon.

Google makes virtually no money from Android, but in terms of getting phones out into the general population – it has been very successful.

Again, this totally did not make sense to me until I realised the power of Google Now.

When Apple introduced Siri, it also introduced the concept of high quality, highly edited, context aware pieces of information. When you searched for a business, you also got a Yelp review. When you ask for a sports score, it delivers it to you on a beautifully designed plate. It's much easier to ask a question than type it out on a smartphone.

This technology is far from perfect, but mark my words, it's the future.

Not only was Google cut out of the most lucrative part of the smartphone market (the iPhone), all of the signals it relied on to make Google the best search engine in the world were disappearing, or worse, being manipulated on a grand scale.

I seriously believe Google was effectively dead. They just hadn't figured it out yet.

Enter Google Now.

While most of the world was fixated on dudes jumping out of an aeroplane with some fancy glasses on their head at Google I/O. I rewound and rewound and rewound the section on Google Now.

I could not believe what I was seeing.

If Google can execute Google Now, and not run afoul of the privacy police, they may have just pulled off one of the greatest end runs[1] in history.

A Privacy Policy Change…

I've not been kind about Google+. I readily admit it.

As a social network it sucks dog balls.

There's not a single compelling reason for Joe and Jane Smith to use Google+. Why would they ever leave Facebook, to use it?

The digerati love it because it was NOT Facebook, and without the noise of the usual social networks, were able to network more effectively themselves!

I openly mocked Google as they announced the incredible growth in Google+ membership. As soon as you sign up to any Google service including YouTube or Gmail – guess what – surprise! You're on Google+.

Google have been playing "Rope A Dope" [2] with everyone, they where happy to receive potshots like mine.

They had their eyes on a far greater prize.

It's funny, in researching this article, Google again and again were crystal clear (and not as I suggested "on crystal meth") about two things.

*Google+ is not a social network *Google+ IS Google (implying everything would be unified under Google+)

When I read this back, even the name "Google+" sucks as a name for a Social Network.

It's a perfect name for an information and context enhanced network that knows what you need to know before you even know it.

Next Step – Connect Everything Together

Google released a privacy policy change which allowed them to share data across all of their Google properties. From You Tube to Reader, from Gmail to Calendar, from Google Search to Restaurant Review, from Translation to Google Maps.

For the first time all of this information could be aggregated.

Everybody looked at this as a privacy fight, this was classic misdirection. While the minor amount of hand wringing was occurring, Google was planning on unleashing Google Now.

Nobody thought to ask what Google could do with all of the information in was now pooling together…"

Written by Ed Dale

[Sent from Ralph Paglia's iPhone]