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World Famous

As just one indicator of how entrenched Google is in the business world, a conference planned for next spring, Business 12, has among its seminars one entitled: Is Google Flogging a Dead Horse?

There is some decrease in Google+ use, so a launch of Google+Pages (their version of Facebook for business users) may not be needed. Many small and medium business leaders struggle with internet marketing and social media. For them to commit more time to building another social media/marketing tool may be a step too far.

However, the point is that Google itself and its future are a mainstream and serious part of the business climate in Britain and elsewhere.

Information Amnesia

For some commentators, the ‘Google Effect’ is an ability to forget information, because of the ease of refinding it or discovering new information via Google searches on the internet. It’s almost a deliberate amnesia, though some scientists dispute this, arguing that memory changes happen in a changing technological world anyway.

An article on Wikidot, asked how much Google has actually affected information-seekers: ‘students of the internet generation have come to view the search engine, rather than the library, as their entry point into information-seeking’. This dependence on search engines led to the term ‘Google Generation’ to define a generation of individuals who, born after 1993, were brought up in the age of the internet and its most popular search engine, Google.

They spend much of their lives on the internet, emailing, messaging, gaming, social networking and homework/research. However, the traits of network behaviours in ‘digital natives’ is beginning to apply to older generations too, as all seek a way of coping with the vast quantities of data available in the world now. Google is the search engine of choice for most people.

To Google Or Not to Google?

Now 13 years old, Google has made itself not just synonymous with the internet itself, but part of the language. To google has become a verb, an action understood by most people. But in fact, Google means far more than that. Their periodic reassessments of search rankings (algorithms) can make or break content web sites.

It pioneered click-ad monetising, instant news across the web, mapping and satellite imagery, emails and an essentialness that makes the word commonplace in everyday language. They have become a money making machine par excellence and an innovation factory almost bar none.

In 2008, Trend Hunter published a list of 40 ways the giant had changed the world. It was among long lists of different writers and bloggers who have had a stab at explaining how Google has been nothing short of world changing.

On the 10th anniversary of Google’s incorporation (Sept 1998), Forbes magazine invited Google luminaries to comment on just how much the mega-giant has influenced the globe. Lots of people then had guesses about how many searches it had performed.

Top League of Business Giants

It was reckoned that their searches turned into cash transactions worth over $16 billion a year. Google was worth the kind of billions that put it in the league with Hewlett-Packard and Bank of America. In 1998 they handled 10,000 searches daily and had 26 million webpages. A decade on, it’s estimated they carried out 230 million searches daily looking at 1 trillion unique URLs for content.

YouTube, Picasa, Orkut, Gmail and web browser Chrome are part of the mega-empire. In 1998, they had 26 million webpages. They are pushing hard into cloud computing, aim to be a global data centre that stores every single piece of personal and corporate data.

Google staff work in a compound modelled on a college campus, and are allowed to work on a project of their own one day a week. That is a Google work ethic not yet widely copied.

And finally, Sir David Pepper, former director of GCHQ, the government’s listening post told the annual Mountbatten Memorial Lecture in London, November 2011 that it was much harder to produce ‘genuinely secret intelligence’ thanks to the internet.

He reckoned that Britain’s spies had to up their game as the Google effect of so much information available in cyberspace (particularly Google Maps and Streetview) that ‘anyone can see photographic detail of far away countries’.

Secrets are no longer secret. When it began, Google’s slogan was: ‘Don’t be evil’. It was later modified to ‘you can make money without being evil’. They have certainly made money. The jury of history may still be out on the rest of the slogan.

Read On:

The Communication Paradox.

Is the Web Bad For Brains?