Google has been facing quite a lot of pressure (for which it is least bothered) regarding being termed a content company, given how easily it is overshadowing its competitors in the Web-sphere with its services. The latest hit is taken by Knol that was launched last month (as a competitor of Wikipedia?). The immediate issues coined with its launch were that Google’s search results displayed the findings from Knol rank way higher that those from the older horses in the race as the New York Times reports.
Now I was baffled too, I tried out searching for ‘buttermilk pancake’; as had been told in NY Times and I get to see the result from Knol at number 1, followed by sites that are dedicated to recipes and have been there for much long. Google, generating results that rank its own service higher, isn’t that a poor act of self publicity? Wenda Harris Millard, Co-CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia remarked:
If in fact a Google property is taking money away from Google’s partners, that is a real problem…
That definitely sounds right to be honest, the question is Google so biased? And how much more can it get as it grows without a pause? We can have these questions and Google seems to have an idea ready to be thrown in, as the Spokesman for Google, Gabriel Stricker said:
When you see Knol pages rank high, they are there because they have earned their position,
I did exactly that and to my surprise the result for ‘ buttermilk pancake’ in Yahoo was at number 4 and I couldn’t help but imagine how come a site a mere 3 weeks old gain such a high page rank? And then I get an answer, hasn’t Yahoo teamed up with Google at this search ad business? I know that deal was for ads but it does make a team between the two and might just help Google’s Knol tip in a favor at this. Am I being too ‘anti-Google’? Not exactly, but as I see it dominating the web, so absolutely I cant but help imagine that everything around would soon turn to nothing but Google.
Our vision still remains to be the best conduit that we can be, connecting people between whatever their search is and the answer they are looking for. For that reason, we are not interested in owning or creating content.
It may not be so ballistic about owning and creating content but if you look over the web you see the glaring difference from what has been and what actually appears. Google dominates the Search market with Google Search, the online video sharing portal, YouTube is yet unparalleled and will remain so for a much longer time, Blogger being one of the most popular blogging services and what not to name? Jason Calacanis, the CEO of Mahalo, a search engine that depends on editors to create pages on various subjects said:
Google can say they are not in the content business, but if they are paying people and distributing and archiving their work, it is getting harder to make that case. They are competing for talent, for advertisers and for users.
Well this might worry many a media and content sharing services but many of them are least bothered about Knol. Richard Rosenblatt, CEO of Demand Media, a rapidly growing site that eHow and ExpertVillage said:
Assuming that Google treats Knol just like it treats other Web sites, it is just another company out there producing content.
He even said that if Knol gains widespread popularity, he would make sure that he would post his content from Demand Media sites, pretty much like it posts most of videos on YouTube. He added:
We have an enormous amount of traffic on YouTube it hasn’t cannibalised ExpertVillage.
Alright that being said; what problem I look up here is Google, as it expands its horizons more might just jump into the same pothole as Microsoft did a few years back, something it hasn’t been able to climb out of. Perhaps it was the same feverish thought in Microsoft, that of global domination. The difference that separates Google is that Google appears to be far more humble than Microsoft: which might just save it from sinking too quickly into the quicksand.