Google Blogoscoped

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Google Pimps Own Services in Search Results

Teehee. Google recently emphasized they need to pay the same budgets as everyone else to advertise on Google using AdWords. What they might not have told us is that Google might simply not use AdWords in the first place... and instead, display a graphical “tip” Onebox on top of the organic results. This is what currently happens when you search for blog, blogger, blogs, blogging, start a blog, i want blogs – and probably mostly any other combination containing the word “blog”, “blogger”, and “blogs”, e.g. “blogoscoped” or “yahoo blogging tools” – with Google’s tipvertisement reading:

Tip: Want to share your life online with a blog? Try Blogger

And you’d think they’d be already satisfied in occupying the top AdWords spot and the second organic spot for on a search like “blog” which returns over a billion hits (at least on the datacenters I saw). This is a prime example of the issue of “cross integration” which I predict we’ll be discussing much more in 2007... and it’s not the only one, as Tony Ruscoe points out. Search for calendar and Google presents you yet another tipvert on top (“Tip: Want to organize your schedule and share events with friends? Try Google Calendar”).

Neutral this isn’t... there’s many other blog web apps (and web calendars) around, and just picking a single best one turns out to be a matter of opinion. Now there are two schools of thoughts here; one that says “it’s Google’s site, they’re allowed to do whatever they want on it”, and another which says “search results ought to be as neutral as possible.” So for now let’s simply judge Google by their own standards. Google claims they are “not using an editorial viewpoint” in search results, adding elsewhere “nor do we manipulate search results by hand”, arguing they “believe strongly in allowing the democracy of the web to determine the inclusion and ranking of sites”, and explaining that “Google’s complex, automated methods make human tampering with our results extremely difficult.”

Well, I guess they don’t always include their own human tampering in the equation.

[Thanks Tony Ruscoe and Razvan!]

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Update: See the follow-up for more.


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