Wednesday Grok: Google chases paid inclusion, the very evil it once spurned
- 02 May, 2012 13:29
Google just can’t help itself. It’s like a drunk stumbling into a bar, or a junkie with his bony fingers clamped tightly around a fresh new 50 dollar note. The search engine giant seems determined to self-immolate. Forget about anti-trust for the time being, we’re talking instead about the debasement of its core product.
It’s hardly a secret that Google has been openly abandoning the principles that made it successful and its pioneers spectacularly wealthy.
And the journey continues to unfold with Google soon to “make ads for certain kinds of products look like search results,” according to <i>Business Insider</i> which itself references a report in <i>Search Engine Land</i>. This is an approach to search known as paid inclusion. It was popular with advertisers before Google burst on the scene years ago and made it very unpopular.
As the BI article noted, Google told investors before it floated, “We will do our best to provide the most relevant and useful search results possible, independent of financial incentives. Our search results will be objective and we will not accept payment for inclusion or ranking in them.” Indeed.
The Search Engine Land article said initially paid inclusion will be applied to flight searches, financial product searches and hotel searches. There are examples of the old and new approach in the report which tells the story better than all the words.
Of course these initial three categories are just the start. Once and for all, you can forget all about "don't be evil". We are no longer debating what Google does for a living; we are simply negotiating a price.
Some wars aren’t worth fighting
By all accounts, Oracle is getting totally pwned in its court case with Google at the moment. The argument is over Google’s use of Java in Android — only in the IT industry does that sentence make any sense.
Specifically, it’s about whether Google violated copyright on IP acquired by Oracle as a result of Oracle's purchase of Sun Microsystems.
Those three words are so unlikely to ever appear together in any context so we decided to give them separate paragraphs.
SmartMoney said Google has it in the bag. And Oracle certainly wasn’t helped by the testimony of former Sun Microsystems CEO, Jonathan Schwartz.
According to <i>Readwriteweb</i> , Schwartz testified, “In addition to saying that Sun never charged for Java APIs, ... Sun’s goal for Java when the language was created in the mid-to-late 1990s was to build an open-source universal language that was not reliant on Microsoft or Windows. Giving the APIs away for free was the only way to do that.”
It seems pretty cut and dried from all the way down here, Larry.
Microsoft decides it’s time to get into e-readers
Finally, Microsoft has sunk $300 million into a joint venture with Barnes and Noble to buy itself a place in the e-reader game. B&N will spin out its Nook e-reader along with its college business, according to Business Insider, which also noted that the Microsoft investment values the JV at $1.7 billion compared to the value of B&N itself at just a pinch under $800 million.
Andrew Birmingham is the CEO of Silicon Gully Investments. Follow him on Twitter @ag_birmingham.