The Internet is under attack by the Obama Administration through executive powers. This does not bode well for the Internet entrepreneurs or for political speech. The following is an analysis of how the Internet and specifically Google has created a free world-wide social environment. The governments of the world should study the Internet Society. They might learn something.
Google is known as a search engine for relevant information in the Internet. There are other search engines or browsers such as Yahoo, Explorer, MSN Bing, etc. However, Google is more than that just a browser.
Google has managed to create the foundation of a solid natural and free social environment, a virtual society with no geographical or language barriers.
In the name of fairness, I am strongly biased towards individual freedom. I grew up under communism but more importantly, I witnessed the transition from a free society to communism and the disappearance of freedom. The communist movement expected that all international masses will assume power and become a great world communist system. Had Google and the Internet been around in those days, communism would have embraced it and maybe would have learned something useful: Freedom of the masses can be very constructive. I wish the present politicians would take a look and learn something from the environment Google has created and it is still nurturing.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin started Google in January 1996 as a research project when they were both PhD students at Stanford University in California. Originally, Google ran under the Stanford University website, with the domain google.stanford.edu.
The domain google.com was registered on September 15, 1997. The company was incorporated on September 4, 1998, at a friend’s garage in Menlo Park, California.
The Google name comes from “Googol”. Googol refers to the number 1 followed by 100 zeros. This is such a large number that can not be achieved if you count all the sand particles on the whole universe. It was supposed to mean an infinity number of people and their interactions with no end in sight. Google runs over one million servers in data centers around the world, and processes over one billion search requests and twenty petabytes (1000 trillion) of user-generated data every day, which is an incredible achievement. Google got started with just $100,000 from a private investor.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin had a vision and a dream with a purpose: Match other peoples’ dreams and desires with each other, so all can benefit. If a vendor had a good product or service, Google made it easy for the seeking party to find it. A book author could publish and sell a book without going through a publisher. Google made it easier to promote the book. Talented individuals on a shoe string could start a home business over night. There are billions of sites on the Internet with all kinds of information or products for sale. All of that information has been posted by individuals or companies in the expectation to be found and/or shared by interested parties or prospects. Google did not create the information; private parties and institutions did.
Google’s mission was to come up with the best possible presentation to any inquiry. This is not a trivial task, certainly not on the Internet. Complex algorithms as well as site ratings are being used to connect requests with delivery sites. Before Google came into existence, the early browsers such as Netscape, MS Explorer, Yahoo and dozens more used straight forward techniques of cataloging words or phrases and associating them with relevant sites. However, when you deal with billions of sites and entries every day, it is very difficult to determine which site provides the best and most relevant information requested through a query. Using Google’s browser, the satisfactory result usually comes up on top of the first page out of millions of postings containing similar information. People would very seldom look beyond the first three pages.
Larry Page had an idea: To evaluate pages in the order of importance and relevance, they would count the number of back links to that particular site. The total amount of links and where they were coming from was also important.
For instance, if I were a small contractor designing home theaters and had no money for advertising my business, I would design a website with all sorts of instructions and drawings as a portfolio to help my prospects understand how I would deploy a project. The site will look like a tutorial. The next step would be to contact some major distributors of home theater furniture, electronics, cables, etc. and ask them to link my educational site to theirs and offer it to their customers as an educational tool for a do-it-yourself project. All parties benefit. The same concept works when someone with expertise in a particular field publishes useful information through a variety of electronic publications. The author’s link will point to his site and Google will index it and qualify it.
Google calls this new technology PageRank where a website’s relevance was determined by the number of pages and the importance of those pages is linked back to the original site.
Google was granted a patent describing their PageRank mechanism. The patent was officially assigned to Stanford University and lists Lawrence Page as the inventor. By 2006 the name “Google” had found its way into everyday language, causing the verb “Google” to be added to the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary, denoted as “to use the Google search engine to obtain information on the Internet.”
This feature was very important in the context of equal social opportunity because it enabled creativity to be distributed throughout the Internet at almost no cost to the creator. Before this technology was deployed, an Internet contender had to spend a lot of advertising dollars to promote his site. Otherwise no one could find it. The search engines did not even index it.
Since 2006, Google has added a wide range of support services and capabilities either through acquisitions or internal development. It is not my intent to do a thorough analysis of all its capabilities. I am going to outline the most important functions and the free tools provided by Google to its subscribers.
Google and its function
Google has been criticized often as being too big and too dominant in the Internet field. The critics usually fail to mention the valuable services Google provides to big and small businesses alike as well as to the individual entrepreneur. Most importantly, it provides real value to the end user, the potential consumer products and services advertised or promoted through the Internet.
Google makes money by providing a sound platform for the advertisers and a wide range of helpful free advertising tools. Google does not advertise. The advertisers do. This is a mutually beneficial relationship.
Google advertising tools
Google Analytics enables website owners to track where and how people use their website with in-depth research into getting users to go where you want them to go. It is a very powerful tool that helps the web designers correct and optimize how the information is organized and presented to prospects by monitoring their behavior while visiting the site.
Google AdSense allows website owners to display these advertisements on their website, and earn money every time ads are clicked. Google automatically places only the ads that are relevant to the content on that page. If a visitor finds any of these ads interesting, they will click and the website owner will collect a small fee. I would like the mention that these ads are offered to advertisers for pennies.
Google AdWords helps advertisers display their advertisements in the Google content network, through either a cost-per-click or cost-per-view scheme. This is a true advertising service with daily monitoring and budget control facilities. An advertiser can set up a series of ads associated with certain keywords and test its performance daily. It is interesting that Google uses a price bidding system. If you bid for a high ranking position on the top page and if your ad attracts more visitors than your competition next to you, Google will gradually decrease your ad cost. It is possible to have a very top position on the page and pay less per click than the rest below you. This encourages creativity and unique content which in turn will make your campaign more successful.
Keywords Services, all the above services would not be very useful unless you have some means of selecting the right keyword and phrases that match what your potential prospectors are looking for. Remember, you respond to written requests. Google has an extensive support service that helps in the selection of the right key words as well as monitoring the number of links associated with your competition. These powerful tools enable you to determine both the demand and the competition based on keywords alone.
There have been other services such as Gmail, Google News, Orkut and more being added as time goes by. There are no limits on creativity in a free social environment such as the one created by Google.
I am not trying to minimize the contributions of other browsers such as Yahoo and Explorer. This article is not really about Google as a browser. It is about the free international society Google has helped create through access to knowledge and economic development.
The cost of running a website could be as low as $5.00 per month. Blogs are free and can be used instead. The cost of entering an international business is very low. There are thousands of individuals who make a living by selling books that are often not even their own. Rock bands can record and publish their music for free. I can go on and on. All of it has been made possible, to a certain extent, by Google through its affordable promotional capabilities.
Most importantly, Google has managed to create this social environment because there was no government oversight or regulation. The only self policing policy deals with abuse of services such as spamming. When the Chinese government tried to interfere with its operations, Google decided to get out of China.
Imagine a World Governance where all freedoms are assured: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Association, Freedom of Commerce and Freedom of Exchange of Ideas and Opinions, (including political). Internet is just that, and Google is the facilitator and the Governance.
Do not allow the government to take this away through some form of regulation in the name of “public good”.