Thank Google by Rich

In this Holiday week, let’s give pause to thank Google for getting a lot of things right.

When Google was first founded, their motto was “Don’t Be Evil.” While they’ve dropped that, it does highlight that generally speaking, Google is trying to do right by their two major categories of customer. Millions of businesses depend on Google for their advertising needs, and are the major source of income for the search giant.

Hundreds of millions of consumers depend on Google to find what they are looking for, whether it is the temperature in Nome Alaska or the best price on Baker’s chocolate.

That’s a lot of trust. Literally tens of billions of dollars’ worth.

The history of commerce in the U.S., and in the World, shows that kind of trust has been more often violated than earned. Only the most gullible believe every advertising claim they see. And time and time again giant corporations have seen stock prices crash, executives go to jail or flee the country, and products recalled, banned or the subject of class action lawsuits.

I don’t wear rose-colored glasses for any business. Google has made lots of mistakes. Worse, and especially in the last few years, Google has made changes to increase their profit at the expense of a degraded consumer experience.

Despite all that, Google does a better job than most consumer companies in delivering value. In fact, they do a far better job than their competitor search engines. They also continue to add free features and services in its quest “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” This is why they remain at the top of the heap in their industry. In the U.S., year after year, Google is used for about 2/3 of all searches. That is despite Microsoft’s continuing and aggressive efforts to make Bing the default search engine on as many devices as possible. The vast majority of those 2/3 were by choice, not by default.

That says something about how well the consumer things Google is doing. And don’t ever forget that Google’s services are free to the consumer.

It isn’t fashionable to think of a company as good, or doing good, unless they are a non-profit or give a large portion of their profits to fighting poverty or disease. I personally think it is fair to say that Google is good, certainly far more good than bad. For an industry dominating company, that is not something that normally happens or continues to happen for long.

A lot of the governmental efforts to reign in or limit Google’s power, are misguided. Europe has been particularly active in this regard and a lot of the result is simply to make information less available to their own populations. Perhaps that’s the goal.

Also, let’s not forget the efforts of Google’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin to help mankind, such as alternative energy sources.

So yes, at the risk of ridicule, I’ll say it: Thank Google.

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