August 31, 2008 |
No doubt, Google is the largest internet giant that determines exactly how the market operates and how other players behave online. What’s more, acquisition by Google is certainly one of the most appealing exit strategies for many of the newly-launched startups – this exit strategy is often the most financially rewarding one and it offers a huge opportunity for further growth of a product with the help of Google’s engineers, servers and money. And even though many startups have been completely (or almost) forgotten after acquisition by Google, many still think it is the best possible scenario. Today I have seen an interesting tweet that got me thinking heavily:
Is it really true that anyone launching a startup or in any other way profiting from an online business actually works for Google in the end? And you know what, my opinion is that mostly yes, anyone does.
First of all, we all generate content here that gets indexed by Google and adds to its search power. For any single person who is even relatively active online Google must be indexing hundreds of pages – while those that are engaged in numerous online activities easily generate thousands of pages without even thinking of it.
For example, for me Google indexes a few thousands of pages on Profy plus a huge number of my profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook and dozens of other social networks I am registered with. Then I have microblogging/lifestreaming pages on Twitter, FriendFeed, Pownce, Jaiku, MyBlogLog and tons of others I have created accounts with out of curiosity or to test them for Profy. I also offer my photos on Flickr for Google to use in image search (along with logos and screenshots I upload to my posts on Profy). All of those generate thousands of pages – not to mention all those comments on Disqus, coComment or the new addition to the blog commenting game BackType.
And while my own name may not be among the most popular search terms for Google, I also tend to generate content related to quite popular search terms – and these pages often appear in the search results. And what does Google do with all those enormous numbers of pages appearing in the search results? Obviously it sells ads along those results – and generates revenue that allows the internet giants to make all those acquisitions startups aspire to.
What’s more, many bloggers generate further revenue for Google by placing ads from Google AdSense alongside their content. And even though Profy as a publisher only uses Google’s ads as defaults here in addition to better-paying CPM ads, I am perfectly aware of all those sploggers scraping our content and making money off it – usually with AdSense as well.
And I don’t even want to mention all the information that Google now has about all the internet users: from what our homes look like and to our interests reflected in our search history as well as in the terms we use Google Alerts for and articles we share on Google Reader. We have already heard enough theories on how Google could use the information and they are mostly scary.
Many of us end up heavily relying on Google and helping the corporation gain strength with our content and money we earn for it. Is not it scary that any internet user serves as a human input device for Google? I think it is but I also believe there is nothing any user can do avoid it completely. And while the situation may change eventually if (or when) an equally powerful competitor will arrive, in the meanwhile we will all continue to help Google further grow its enormous empire.
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