December 31, 2006

A GOOGLE TIPPING POINT?

Taken in a vacuum, a fairly trivial thing happened a few days ago. The co-founder of Firefox, Blake Ross, wrote a post criticizing Google called “Tip: Trust is hard to gain, easy to lose“. He takes issue with a new Google search feature that promotes certain of their own products over organic search results. See Google searches for Calendar, Blogging, Photo Sharing and others and see Google pushing Google Calendar, Blogger and Picasa, respectively, above what is supposed to be the most relevant results – Google search. Even a search for Yahoo Calendar has these Google results above the obvious destination the user was searching for.

I say this is trivial incident taken in a vacuum because, quite frankly, Google has every right to promote their own products on their website. But I think Ross’ post may be a sign of a change in attitude towards Google that’s been percolating for the last year or so, and is beginning to manifest itself. The fact that a highly respected entrepreneur finally spoke out should be a wakeup call for Google.

I’ve noted declining trust in Google over the past year or so, and it seems that the problem is getting worse. Google should be a lot more worried about this than it seems to be — all you need to do to take your business elsewhere is type a different URL.