Google Search – Built on a Weak Foundation?

It's not been a good news week for Google. First a paper that faults the PageRank methodology shows up. Then, Google agrees to a link scheme that Microsoft called unethical. So what is going on? Are the $$$ making Google compromise on principles? Or is Google simply falling out of favor with the media?

Think about this… if a study came out that ranked a handful of other search engines better than Google, and it was highly publicized by the mainstream media, could Google lose 2/3 of their audience in less than a year, and if so, what would that do to profits?

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  • Jason

    I suppose it depends on whether or not you think of Google is more like the QWERTY keyboard, or more like a mousetrap maker. Does Google operate in an increasing returns world or a diminishing returns world? I question the strength of its network effect – using Google does not preclude you from using other search engines, and the costs of switching are low.

    That being said, I, like most everyone else, use Google, and I imagine it will require a search engine to be much better then Google to require a switch.

    Final parting shot: This is why I am not so worried about Google’s various ventures into Google Mail, Google Earth, etc., even if they don’t turn profits. They strengthen the network effect and increase switching costs.

    Disclaimer: I was originally quite bearish on Google, and I still am, but I haven’t put my money where my mouth is (thankfully).

  • Google is a deeper company than it was then, of course, but before it existed everyone thought the world of Yahoo and its search capability, and Altavista, and Infoseek, and Excite, and etc, etc, etc. And there were lots of reasons to stay with Yahoo, of course – it was as sticky a community as there was then.

    The only question is when the successor will come, and when it does, how able Google will be to react however it will need to.

    It will be months or just a few years, not more. It always is.

  • stuart

    Have you actually read the ‘paper that faults the page rank’ ? It looks like a paper written by a college student for a project. The paper contains terrible grammar and spelling mistakes and obviously has not even been reviewed by a monkey.