The Google Business Model05 Aug 2010
Google’s core business model is to create a platform for people to use and then step back and let the scientific data make the decisions. Their first product was the search engine we now know as Google Search and it utilized a combination of web spider software that constantly surfed and cataloged the Internet and used user generated feedback to create results that are both smart and efficient. If someone does not know the answer to a question, just Google it. Google’s name has become synonymous with search, because of the steps that it took to create its search engine.
In the old days of the Internet, companies like Yahoo or Ask Jeeves hired editors much like newspapers, in order to filter the content online. It was relatively easy and cheap to do back in 1995, even with the Internet growing by millions of pages a year. Their thought process was that they needed to categorize the sites on the web much like the Yellow pages categorized business phone numbers. They could then charge more to get people to rank higher on search results. This would create a tier search system where if a user typed in Nike or combination of Nike, only Nike.com and other Nike related sites came up no matter what combination of the word Nike a user typed in. The older search engines and not Google were trapped by categorization and bad taste thus making the Internet not at all a reliable place to gather and store information. A user was lucky if they even found what they were looking for at all and then came Google. The first part of making Google synonymous with search was that they figured out what was wrong with Internet search at that time.
When Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin first started the company back in 1999, they did not simply want to create another search engine such as Yahoo or so many others that existed at the time. Their plan was to create a company that based what it did on pure data with the belief that customers and not executives held the power to make the company great if given the chance. Sergey and Larry’s idea was simple, much like MetaCrawler who by its name crawled the Internet looking for websites link by link. They would use that same kind of random Internet surfing idea and take it one step further. Since they had the data of Internet sites and who they linked to, they would take which sites had the most links coming to them and use that as a basis of importance. The reason they did this was because they believed that if multiple web sites linked to a single web site, there was probably something of value or worth in that web site. This was their initial basis for Google Search. It worked, but they did not want to do like many other search engines and settle there. The second part of associating Google with search was that they revolutionized how a search engine worked right away.
Upon review of the data coming into their Google Beta Search engine they realized that once a user typed in a search query, they would have to scroll from page to page trying to look more specifically for what they were trying to find. So the next step of brilliance came in saving user click data. If they saved every click to a website that a user made for every word that they typed in to search they could rank that particular site as being more valuable to the topic at hand and thus should rank higher overall for that particular word or phrase. That is one of the reasons why to this very day, Google has saved the information for every search and click it has ever received since the very first day it launched. It does this to ensure that the search results are as complete as possible and that users get the best response possible for their queries. The third part of making Google synonymous with search was that they continued to make their searches better by changing it at every step.
This single revelation turned out to be the brilliance of the Google way of thinking put into action. Instead of hiring legions of editors and staff surfing and cataloging the Internet as many companies had before them, they would allow their users to be the ones to catalog the Internet for them. With every click of the mouse and every search on Google, they ensured that the engine got smarter because they believed that a smarter engine would be able to give better results to its users. Google could then create a cycle of perfect harmony between the program and its customers that forces companies to play nice and allows every site to have a level playing field. No decision is made inside of Google without having hard concrete user data to back it up.
Even though Google loses millions in mistakes with product research it eventually makes up for the loss in billions. Besides the money, Google also learns as much as it can from the mistakes it makes. With Google Gmail, Voice and Wave in the horizon, it plans on using the same lessons it learned from it’s search engine creation to revolutionize Email, Telephones and Social Networking.