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Google Isn’t God…But Addictive

Google Love
A few years, I took a half-hearted attempt at giving up Microsoft (sort of like my terribly unsuccessful endeavor to become a vegetarian.)

It was a difficult task given I was using XP and Office but there was a sense of satisfaction in embracing Firefox and Thunderbird rather than IE and Outlook. These days, Google is the new Microsoft but as much as I’d like to cut back on my Google addiction, it’s difficult. Let’s look at my Google “portfolio”:

1. Search. Simply put, Google continues to be the best, although I’m curious/interested about new search engines such as Powerset.

2. Blog search. Google Blog Search is, strangely, far from compelling but it will continue to be the tool of choice until something better comes along.

3. Image search. Love it. Works.

4. Finance. Google Finance has a nice clean look and feel but Yahoo Finance can be just as good, particularly when it comes to analyst information.

5. Picasa. I just started using Google’s photo tool. It’s pretty good but there are plenty of solid alternatives. For photo-editing, Picnik is great.

6. Google Docs. A great tool if you need to collaborate with other people, and a complement – but not a replacement – to Office.

7. Google Reader. I used to be a big FeedDemon fan but jumped on the GR bandwagon when it became obvious that an online tool was a must-have.

8. Google Earth. Tres cool.

The funny thing about using all these Google services is they kind of just sneak up on you. One day, you’re using search on a regular basis, and then before you know it, you’ve migrated to a bunch of other Google-powered services.

What’s interesting that I look at each Google search as a standalone entity rather than as an application suite – perhaps because there’s little integration between each service. One of the reasons that I really like the concept of a Google Browser (aka GBrowser) is it would give Google an interesting way to showcase its entire portfolio, while controlling the tool that’s replacing the OS as the foundation for personal computing.

More: Jeff Jarvis declares that “Google is God” after looking at the company’s growth in terms of search, pay-per-click, traffic, brand and financial results.

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  • http://fathawar.spaces.live.com Farhan Thawar

    I sorta disagree with #3. As the former Product Manager for Live Search, I still use Live Search image search…. the UI is much more intuitive and easy to use than Google’s.

    My opinion of course.

  • Benjamin Butcher

    I agree with the main thrust of the argument that Google is not perfect but the easiest to use. But, I think the fact that recently we are seeing a lot of discussions about Google’s knowledge of users, people wanting to have more control of their privacy is a sign that Google’s time of total dominance is coming to an end.

    What is needed is a number of alternatives to Google though. When you have conversations with people about Google it is a tribute to their marketing (and product) that the answers everyone gives are exactly the same:

    1) It’s the fastest
    2) It’s the best because they have so many servers that cover the entire Internet

    Try it next time you are out. Say something like, “I think Google is dead and there are better options”. The responses from people around you are startling in that they are nearly always, word for word, the same – a bit like talking to wives in Stepford.

    I think Google’s weakness lies in that it is too extensive. Do a search and you tend you come up with a million more options than you need. Nice if the one you want is at the top but the ordering is not so nice if you are not really sure what you want. This is one reason I like the presentation of Clusty. A little structuring of the answer makes it easier to navigate.

    Also there are better Image search engines than Google. Clusty is better precisely because it isn’t as extensive. When looking for images I don’t want to be wading through every family picture that Google finds. Too much choice is not always a good thing. To be honest the image search on Clusty and other search engines is so much better that it was one of the main drivers for me giving up on Google as first choice.

    Furthermore, I like the concept that Clusty is looking at a number of Search engines (more would be nice). The one that comes up with the best answer gets my hit and they get paid for it in advertising revenues (I imagine it will evolve like that). Now if it was possible for me to pick the search engines that Clusty clusters from then I think Google’s size would start to work against it because I most of the time I don’t want to be searching the whole of the ‘net for an answer I want to be looking in areas that interest me. The bespoke search engine (clustering) could be one way in which Search evolves from now because it turns Google’s strength into a weakness.

  • http://www.musiqueoijda.ad adilmaik

    (clustering) could be one way in which Search evolves from now because it turns Google’s