There are few times I will read a post made by an author that I have no opinion. In the case of Vivek Wadhwa, who frequently writes on LinkedIn.com, I subscribe to his feed because his point of view is often just slightly at odds with my own perspective. This is just such an occasion. The post is about Facebook and Google, and it speaks to the history of each company, the mindset behind the corporate governance – this is a specialty of our Standord University fellow – and it proffers a forecast of each company and its role in our lives.
Mr. Wadhwa is a thoughtful writer and a scholar of technology, to be sure, and his perspective is not so American. While that is good for gaining a varied and even contrarian point of view on my outlook of the web, it also tends to leave out the an American element that governs so much of what is happening online. His analysis also waxes too academic and speaks too broadly, leaving out the humanistic sway and ignoring the microcosms that are a major part of the future of the web.
If you did not visit the LinkedIn.com commentary above, please do so now, as it will properly frame the following reply.
MY RESPONSE TO VIVEK WADHWA
I agree Facebook appears to lack the innovation or exploratory mindset you find at Google. However, I believe Facebook is more people-centered than Google, and if you’ll pardon me for saying so, Google is neither my friend nor does it have my interests at heart. There may be a humanitarian streak at Google that people recognize, and perhaps that is how you draw the inference of a populace feeling good will toward Mountain View.
Google is a utility that happens to be innovating new technologies; it is a search engine that now provides a tremendous outreach and engagement by offering a wide variety of products and services for free or for small fees. But, ask any webmaster who has been deindexed, any website owner who has had their AdSense account deleted and funds seized, any person who sees drivel ranking higher than legitimate storefronts and websites, and it is unlikely you will find considerable good will lurking in their gray matter, tormented by the frustration of vague notifications that they have been sent to Google’s version of ‘net-jail.
The fact is I would assess the public’s engagement with Google as more of a love-hate relationship, but I don’t have the full power of a survey behind me. Your commentary does not proffer this, either. It would be an interesting study, to be sure.
Personally, I think Google is innovating at a remarkable pace, but the new technologies they are creating leave their engineers igoring the one item that people utilize, which gave Google its massive footprint on the web, and that’s a highly-refined search algorithm that can assess more than simple mathematical inputs and behavioral variables, which also must be reduced to mathematical inputs.
People often do not understand people. It is very unlikely that any technology will ever be able to fully understand the most superficial aspects of human behavior and intent, to say nothing of the hidden nuances we keep from even ourselves. In such a reality, how in the world can a behemoth like Google justify not doing everything it possibly can to fix some of the glaring imperfections in its search and its relationship to webmasters and domain owners?
I am not looking for a car that drives itself. I want a search engine that does not have a large amount of clutter sprinkled among more relevant results. I also would like a search engine that treats webmasters, developers and domainers like partners, not errant little children who require parental supervision.