Google & Public Opinion - How Slippery is this Slope?

Source Title:
Is Opinion tide turning against Google?
Story Text:

SiliconBeat echo what i've been saying on and off here at Threadwatch for months now: The tide of public opinion is turning for Google. At present, that tide is in the early stages, it's with the techies, web dev's, influencial bloggers and other such nuisances for the once level headed Search giant. But it's spreading...

Just as the good word of GOOG spread through the techies and evangelists years ago, the bad word of GOOG is spreading now - and for all appearances, they're blissfully unaware of it.

Communication as Key

A few weeks back we talked about Google's communication strategy and how it was clearly damaging, and obviously so to anyone apparently but Google. We've had the atrocious Autolink debacle, which GOOG have continued to ignore, choosing only to very carefully speak to large media outlets (and only one or two of them at that) rather than join an ongoing conversation, distributed amongst thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people. We've had Google reps patently ignoring burning issues within the webmaster/marketer community and again, carefully choosing where to comment.

In fact, all i've seen from Google's not so clever PR department lately is what could only be defined as dreadful behaviour - some Threadwatch members, both onsite and off, have called for Threadwatch to ban GoogleGuy, the companies "unofficial speaker" from this site entirey - at this moment in time, in light of the insulting way in which a Google rep choose to handle the 302 hijacking concern of many webmasters, and member suspicions that the voice behind the nickname was not the normal Google engineer we're all used to talking to, i've done just that.

This is still under review though, and pending a statement as to GoogleGuy's identity (ie. is it one person or many), intentions, and participation within the community, i do hope to have this resolved.

What's behind Google Arrogance?

Here's a thought - we've got what? about a 1000 new millionaires in GOOG right now? could it be possible that the conceited, abusive arrogance rising off of the G$ reputation could simply be a case of "fuck you, we're rich"? Maybe so, it's hard to fathom why such a once loved company have very quickly, at least within techie circles, become a figure of mistrust and dislike.

The nasty thing, the really frustrating thing about all of this, is that Google could fix it easily. All they would have to do is join the conversation and speak to those that made GOOG what they are today, the techies, the evangelists, the influencers...

The question now is, where is the tipping point?


The Tipping Point

It's nowhere close yet. Joe Surfer has no idea anything exists beyond Google. To many, G is the Internet.

Get out and about. Watch over somebody's shoulder. Tell them to go to the Microsoft site, the CNN site, Yahoo. What do they do? Of course, they go to Google, type in microsoft, and click a link.

How many times have you heard "I found it on Google," when they mean they found it at Joe Shopper's site? I'm sick of hearing, "You're on Google."

Talk up the alternatives? I've been telling folks about Jeeves/Teoma for a couple of years -- and I still haven't gotten penetration up to more than a few percent.


As jimbeetle puts it nowhere near the tipping point.

Google lost it's high point with the real real SE people a while ago, but from experience that wasn't about switching to other engines, i still use google daily, it's just Google are just like the rest now, not above the clouds anymore.

But yeah i believe they have reached the peak of popularity in SE terms (maybe growth 4-6 months) but then again only around 1 billion use the internet "often" once those other 5 billion come along they have to search somewhere ;)


I think it's happening, I was a diehard Google fan. Loved the product, loved the 'aura' - naive of me maybe, I did feel that the Google folks were 'one of us'. But the past couple months even I had to admit Google's all about Google now (maybe it always was). The autolink is/was a bucket of ice cold water in the face (hey there were even ice shards in that water!)

I went from AskJeeves to Dogpile to Google. (or was it Dogpile to AskJeeves to Google?? lol). I can kick this google habit, and move people along just like I did years ago with Google. I feel we played a big part (actually a HUGE part) in building google to what it is today, we can build other engines too.

I don't think Google can ever recover its fanbase. Maybe people will continue to use them, but no one will be as enchanted with them as *once upon a time*.

The Tipping Point Isn't Close??

Everyone most be reading different data than I am.

Less than 50% of all total searches. And 60% of their user base is also searching at Yahoo and MSN. That crossover rate is within 10 points of their competitors. And I guarantee it's much higher now than it's been in the past.

The Google love fest is over.

Dan Gillmor

Dan Gillmor on Google arrogance

I remain an admirer of Google, but like many other people I'm worried that the company is getting too big for its virtual britches. As Jeff Jarvis and others have noted lately, there's a worrisome bent toward "trust us" in the operation of Google News, a site I like but find frequently frustrating.

the post is about G news and worth a read...

A long time ago ....

Joe Surfer has no idea anything exists beyond Google. To many, G is the Internet.

Get out and about. Watch over somebody's shoulder. Tell them to go to the Microsoft site, the CNN site, Yahoo. What do they do? Of course, they go to Google, type in microsoft, and click a link.

How many times have you heard "I found it on Google," when they mean they found it at Joe Shopper's site? I'm sick of hearing, "You're on Google."

Rewind the clock about 5 years ago, and change every occurance of Google to AOL. Maybe Larry and Sergy will go to the pub and hang out with Steve Case ...

Nah, I think

... five years ago it was AltaVista and Excite. Those who weren't around or weren't paying attention don't know that things can change.

The tipping point will be reached when..

...Google staff really start unloading shares before (or indeed after)the analyists reach the conclusion that something is amiss at Google.

At present Google is worth $49 billion, $17 of that by the big 3 in Google, and a chunk of the rest by Google staff

Presently a fair number of shares are being sold by Google staff.

Wall Street analysts said the stock sales by top Google executives were not surprising, since virtually all of their money is tied up in the company and financial advisers typically advise clients to diversify their holdings. However, Youssef Squali, an analyst with Jefferies & Co., said the total dollar value of Google stock sold over the past several months by senior executives is staggering by normal standards.

If you were a Google staffer, perhaps you would be tempted to unload your shares if you thought the present price was not sustainable.

Could perhaps explain the "venom" of the PR guy from Google that has been posting recently. He has probably got a dollar or two tied up in Google.


I think GG himself isn't necessarily to blame for that

He's built a relationship of sorts with people over a couple of years now (flawed yes but still generally based on people pretty much respecting him). Google are now answerable to their shareholders, they're overreacting and overstretching about a load of stuff and you can pretty easily imagine a meeting where GoogleGuy gets told a) to shut the troublemakers in the forums up or else, b) he may not comment on z, y and autolink, and c) no admissions anything at all is awry.

So he's probably pissed at us lot for complaining, pissed at his bosses for putting him in an impossible position, and pissed at what's happening to Google in general. I can see he might be a bit tetchy :)

But then that's when the real sippery slope starts - if the Googlers stop being happy Oompah Loompas......

how can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat

...or: How's GOOG (or indeed GG) going to "join the discussion" if he can't post here?

I don't want to defend GOOG (or indeed GG) in any way -- both of them are grown-ups and can defend themselves -- it's just that a discussion usually takes at least two parties, afaik, imho.

Not this Discussion

The global discussion claus, not this little thread :)

Bring... down.. the wall...!

In short I agree (with the local discussion thing).

Nick, don't you have a hack that adds a custom smiley to a post based on the poster's IP? Fun way (for the audience here) to distinguish between GG Jeckyll and GG Hyde.


...i'm not that quick today - got a slight hangover as i managed to reform a few industries yesterday and tasted the Brooklyn Monster Ale as well (even better than the Duvel that one) - anyway, i'm off-topic and will get out for some fresh air :-)


You and me both claus, it's weird for the english, but in denmark yesterday *was* easter - and i managed to heroically fight my way through a few easter brews :)

It's reminded me why i don't drink anymore (mostly) its so hard to work with a headache heh..

FYI - i think we have reached some form of decision with GG, im expecting him to post a statement as to his identity (one person or many) and intentions later - or to tell me that he'd rather not participate.

Either way, the matter should be settled today i hope.

Hehe - Duvel's on sale here... me a fridge full.

I'm glad there's a little hole in the wall over here now. All sorts of good things can come of that ;-)

This worm seems to have turned

Eddie found an interesting article from he Guardian

That's a very mainstream article and a very interesting spin from them.

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