I remember when I first heard the term “Google,” I was in my early college years (about 2001) and, at the time, Yahoo was my primary source of internet search. In fact, I clearly remember when more of my friends began using Google’s search engine; for some odd reason, I didn’t think much of it and avoided using it at all costs. Looking back, I think I was just feeling intimidated because I was so accustomed to my own way of searching and was afraid of changing that. It wasn’t too long until I switched over.
Today, Google is the internet’s top search engine with approximately 830,000 searches per minute. As of January 2009, Google search accounts for nearly 72% of searches on the web – a 9% change in just one year! In my view, Google represents technological innovation at scales that I am just beginning to understand. John Battelle, author of The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture, thoroughly explains Google’s profound impact on human culture. He discusses the company’s past, present, and future in great detail and lays out their continuous success. He also explores the implications of Google’s tremendous power.
Naturally, any powerful entity has the potential of creating some cultural resistance and, in some cases, fear. Despite their motto “Don’t Be Evil,” people still seem to think so. Ivica Miscovic even gives a top 10 list on why we should fear Google. Battelle explains (p. 13):
Search straddles an increasingly complicated territory of marketing, media, technology, pop culture, international law, and civil liberties. It is fraught not only with staggering technological obstacles…but with nearly paralyzing social responsibility. If Google and companies like it know what the world wants, powerful organizations become quite interested in them, and vulnerable individuals see them as a threat.
In addition to Google’s firm grasp on search, they continue to create useful products that range from business tools to networking sites. As most know by now, Google’s Book Search is underway; the project is causing some friction and will likely lead to lawsuits. Nevertheless, I stick to my belief that Google should not be feared. Other companies and individuals should follow their lead if they want to stay ahead of the game. Or at least keep up with it.