Today in Intro to Media class we are going to talk about the ever-influential Google.
Beginnings of Google
- Sergey Brin and Larry Page founded the company when they were students at Stanford University
- Began as a research project in 1996
- Incorporated as a private company in 1998
- Went public in 2004
- Based in Mountain View, Calif., home to the so-called “Googleplex.”
- Fortune magazine has rated Google the No. 1 place to work
- Google is the misspelling of the word googol, the number 1 followed by 100 zeros
- The folks at Google even have a sense of humor. Need proof? Search for anagram.
Note: Sources for this page include “What would Google do?” by Jeff Jarvis and “Googled: The End of the World As We Know It” by Ken Auletta.
Google sells itself
- Among the fastest growing companies in the world
- Google operates 70 offices in more than 40 countries
- Didn’t need a marketing campaign
- Only company as visible is probably Coca-Cola
Google’s goal: To change the world
- Google, some experts say, has changed the fundamental architecture of society and industry
- Google encroaches on every media industry
- Google acts without asking for permission
Size and impact of Google
- Number of employees: 55,030, including more than 10,000 software developers.
- Google is the most visited site on the Internet (see list of Google products here).
- Google sells billions of dollars in ads per year and has more than 1 million advertisers.
- Google’s YouTube hosts two-thirds of all Web videos.
What kind of company is Google? It started as a search engine, then quickly expanded its reach.
Lately, the company has been investing in everything from hardware and home security to artificial intelligence.
Google is even getting into lunar travel and sponsored a $30 million contest to see who could land a privately funded robot on the Moon. The goal: To make it cheaper to travel to the Moon and into space.
See winners here.
What Google does
- Google organizes an abundance of information and knowledge
- Customers are in charge
- The mass market is gone. It’s now a mass of niches
- Google allows people to organize without having an organization
- Build it and they will come
Google’s business model
- Google gives away most of its services. That attracts a huge number of users. Google then sells – or lets you sell – ads to that audience
- Business is based on conversing, not marketing
Seeing the world differently
- Example: Craig Newmark lists himself as the “customer service rep” of Craigslist
In the Google era, companies must do business differently
- Company’s public face used to be found exclusively in its ads, slogans, brands and logos
- Now, ideally, company’s public face should be found in the face of satisfied customers
Google is a company of engineers
Getting a job at Google is tougher than getting into Harvard. But once you’re in, it’s a great company to work for. Google offers employees:
- 1 day per week to work on personal projects (half the company’s new initiatives, including Google News, Gmail and Adsense, came from this off time)
- Millions of dollars in free meals and snacks per year
- Free massages, physicals, barbers, dentists, day care, laptops, commuter bus, oil changes, car washes and other perks
- Five months maternity leave for moms. Seven weeks for dads, with full pay.
It’s all about numbers
- Google’s advertising rates are based on number of clicks
- That takes the mystery out of advertising
- Advertisers have a better idea what they’re paying for
Mel Karmazin, then a Viacom executive, visited Google in 2003. He realized Google’s approach to advertising would hurt traditional media advertising. He said, “You’re f–king with the magic.” Google’s adversaries include:
- Authors Guild
- Associated Press
- Advertising companies
- Telephone companies
- Viacom and other companies that produce TV programs
Rupert Murdoch, founder and CEO of News Corp., the third-largest media conglomerate
- Suggested in November 2009 that he would block Google from spidering his Web sites’ content
- Google sets the price of doing business on the Internet, some critics say
- If Google’s spiders are blocked, then the value of Google’s search index would fall
- Will Google grow so big that it will become the enemy?
- Will it safeguard our information?
- Can it be trusted?
- Will it do evil?
- Will Google make us stooopid?
(In the news: Wikileaks protested after Google gave the U.S. gov’t the emails of Wikileaks staffers)
A nation of browsers
- Lack of depth and critical thinking
- Diminished capacity for concentration and contemplation
What do you think?:
Is Google changing the way we think?
Driving us to distraction
- Internet companies want us to be online as long as possible
- The more hits, the more ads
- The more distracted we are, the more money these companies make
But: Does filling our heads with content make us smarter?
- Author Nicolas Carr wonders if we becoming “pancake people”? That is, are we increasingly superficial?
- What do you think? Are we letting Google make more and more of our important decisions?
- Are we losing capacity for deep thought?
- Are we less human and more machine?
- Google Glass video
- Article about Google patent that would allow lasers to project computer onto your palm
- Google Zeitgeist – See patterns and trends using data from billions of searches.
- Google Insights for Search – Type in topics that you write about to learn search patterns by date and region.
- Google Trends – Easily compare search terms of your choice over time.