Is Google a vampire sucking the blood out of media and the web?


Here is a nice video of the highly-respected Danny Sullivan of SearchEngineLand speaking at Web 2.0 Expo SF about how Google plays fair and less fair, giving a balanced view of the accusations of vampirism from media tycoons such as Mark Cuban and Wall Street Journal publisher Les Hinton.

The video is well worth watching. Each of the many examples show how Google is using and potentially abusing its power in specific areas. Small choices, for example in showing related sites against a company website, could point to competitors and thus erode value for advertisers even as they may help consumers. It is also very easy to favor its own initiatives. Why wouldn’t you? But if you lose trust that you are providing the best search results, you lose everything.

Danny suggests that Google doesn’t want to do evil, but its initiatives have an enormous impact. Many caught in its enormous field of influence feel squeezed by its actions.

He ends up by proposing that all search engines should honor the “content compact”: Give as much or more than you take. Danny believes that Google is giving far more than it is taking, particularly in terms of giving traffic to websites.

What is most important is that the quality of search increases. I have to say I thought we would have far better search than we do today. The degree of competition in search is not quite what it should be to push Google. Hopefully the state of search can get better faster as the right sort of pressure is put on Google – not from media empires, but from people searching for the information and services they want.