Thursday, May 8, 2008

We Don't Care, We Don't Have To; We're GOOGLE!

First of all, mostly I love, love, love me some Google. Best search EVER. Even with its flaws. But other than YouTube and organic search, they have some products that do not work consistently as would be expected.

For now, it’s conjuring up memories of Lilly Tomlin as telephone operator “Ernestine”. “We don’t care, we don’t have to. We’re the phone company!”

I don’t want to speak out too harshly about the way Google News works (or doesn’t) for fear they’ll go all Gordon Ramsay on me and say, “, give me your jacket and get out of Hell’s Kitchen!”, but..

  1. It took me MONTHS to figure out why some stuff fed into Google News and some stuff didn’t
  2. Even after figuring that out – stuff will feed in, disappear, show back up – without any rhyme or reason to it
  3. I switched to Google Reader because within Google News you can search on: source:wall_street_journal , sort by date, click to RSS that search, add it to reader and have the full text of the WSJ as an RSS feed and clicking via GR will get you the full text of all articles (doing the same thing with other readers, doesn’t which is why I switched over to GR from Bloglines - a way to get FREE full-text access via RSS (though sadly, not full feed, but still FREE!)
  4. Now that I’m in GR I can see that it does NOT update the feed for TVbytheNumbers frequently. Even though the feed is fine, works fine via Feedburner (which Google fracking owns!) is updated in Bloglines, etc., a post I wrote 2 hours ago as of this writing still does not show up in Google Reader!
  5. Google has a nice “alert” service to e-mail you about specific things you’re interested in. Sometimes it’s immediate. Sometimes it’s hours after the fact. Sometimes, you never get an alert at all

I am guessing I don’t see more kvetching about this stuff mostly because outside of organic search and YouTube, relatively speaking nobody uses the other products. I discussed this with my partner in crime, Bill Gorman (an exec at AOL in the 90s) and his take was:

I think that's always been a problem at Google. They have one thing that makes them all their money, yet they're doing these zillion other things that make them zip.

But it's not entirely clear to me how much effort they actually put into those other things. Yes, the list seems long, but how many people are involved in them or how much are they really spending on them.

While YouTube does garner Google a lot of traffic, even this they have yet to figure out how to monetize. Organic search is a gold mine for Google, but over time building a zillion products that don’t work as well doesn’t seem like a great strategy.

I think Google is to be applauded for leveling the playing field and making it fairly easy for the "little guy" to create some useful content and giving people ways to find it easily. But right now, while I wait for posts to show up in Google Reader I'm thinking, “One ringy dingy.."

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