How Google Will Continue To Dominate The Web
It initially started as a research project which was run under the domain google.stanford.edu. At the time, a very simplified way of understanding how search engines ranked websites was to look for the “sweet spot” of how many times a keyword was repeated within a webpage.
Google went on to revolutionise the web by introducing quality scoring into web results. So, rather than ranking web-pages based on their relevance, they ranked web-pages based on the websites perceived authority (their patented page rank algorithm). At a time when back-links weren’t the priority, this really cleaned up the web. It got rid of a lot of spam and search manipulation and this went on to herald Google as the dominant search engine online. The original paper can still be found on the Stanford University website here: http://infolab.stanford.edu/~backrub/google.html.
Probably the most important and prolific aspect of the Google algorithm was the introduction of measuring back-links pointing to a site as an estimation of the websites authority. In the context of the internet as it was at that time, this was an extremely smart move. If a link was pointing towards a website, then it was likely that it contained something of quality. This back-linking aspect to Google is still the most predominant factor in the algorithm, albeit a lot more sophisticated than in the early days.
Modern Day Google
Google is by far the king of search today dominating online search, mobile search, online advertising and many others. The most recent high profile addition to its empire was that of its Social Networking technology, Google+.
Google plus at first sight doesn’t seem to out-do any of them. Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook have mastered their own respective areas and the number of G+ users is a fraction of the number of Facebook or LinkedIn users. It has a way to go before it compares with these social media sites, however, its current size doesn’t matter that much because it’s not in the same category and it doesn’t aim to be anything like these sites.
Google Plus and the Integration of the Web
With Google+ and the +1 button, Google search is now becoming social. Its Direct Connect sends users to Google-Plus pages when the search begins with a + sign. Google is experimenting with web socialisation as, in the future, I think it believes that socially integrated search will be the only available type of search.
When a person logs into Facebook through Bing, the search results will be radically different. Results will reference Facebook friends. It looks as if this will be the same on Google, personalised search results based on people within your social circles.
The image to the side is a snapshot of what I see when I search “social media” on Google whilst
still logged in to my Gmail account. With its hands in so many pies Google can effectively dominate the web by being a one stop shop for everything. With a Google account I can access and create documents, watch video’s, read email, view my own calendar, search the web, go shopping, get directions alongside a great many other functions.
So where is Google going with all of this?
Google Plus sort of brings all of this together. Why jump around the web typing in so many different URL’s when I can everything in one place? It brings an altogether fluid search experience as most people spend the majority of their time on the web either browsing the web or using social media sites. There’s also no need to press the like button on specific Facebook page, I can just +1 everything that I like and it will instantly feed through to my integrated +1 account.
Have you ever had a look at the rel=author snippet? This is what it looks like…
Website owners and authors can now link their Google Plus profile with content that has been written on the web. Users can now easily go to visit and find out about the person that’s putting this content on the web and there are obvious benefits for the webmasters in doing this. This is all part of integrating Google Plus into the search functionality. To get any pictures appearing in the search results, a Plus account is needed and you will have to jump through all of their hoops before it can be implemented.
Also, it was recently announced that Google places (used by local businesses), will now only be available in the way of G+ Local. Having teamed up with Zagat, you can now view reviews and scores for every business that’s local to you. As well as the obvious benefit of strongly encourage business to switch over to Google Plus, there are also more long term advantages for Google.
Transparency, Accountability and Authentication
Going back to start of this article and remembering what made their search engine so popular in the first place. I believe that a key mantra for their success has always been quality. I don’t see webmasters and bloggers being able to hide behind their articles or websites anymore, if they want to be popular in the future.
Reputation will be as much of an important part of how visible a person or website is. By encouraging openness and accountability, a person can easily check how trustworthy and reliable a person is before purchasing by visiting their Google+ page. It also helps Google to determine the authenticity of a listing and thus, get a credible idea of how high quality a result is.
By profiling everybody on the internet, they can personalise and improve all of the information that they show.
How important is this Moving Forward?
“Lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at you.” – David Brinkley
Whilst I don’t think that the fundamental foundations of search aren’t going to revolutionise overnight, it’s still very worthwhile trying to learn, understand and adjust with the times. Don’t make it your priority, but implement changes and do what’s necessary getting the best out of the social functionality. Then, the day of panic won’t come where you realise that everybody’s half way round the track when you haven’t even passed the start line yet.