Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Who do you fear more? Microsoft, or Google?
Published on March 28, 2004 By Draginol In Internet

If you're a business operating on-line, who has more power over you? Microsoft...or Google?

Increasingly, I think the answer is Google. Google has been a benevolent giant. To my knowledge, they've done nothing menacing or intimidating. But then again, if they had, who would know?

For example, what if your company did something that made it competitive with Google in some way or made Google feel you were a threat. What is to stop them from tweaking their algorithms so that your site suddenly didn't show up as often in search requests? How would you prove it? How would you even know?

As a fan of Google (I've often joked at the office that if my day job doesn't pan out, I'll send my resume to Google), I also recognize their power. In 5 years, it won't be Microsoft that casts a huge shadow over the Internet. It'll be Google. Not necessarily a negative one but a shadow nevertheless. I predict that they will soon dominate the on-line advertising markets. We alerady have Google-served ads here. 

Google has become a giant the old fashioned way - they do a better job. They're innovative and follow through on their ideas. But still, as their influence over the course of the Internet grows, it definitely will start to make people nervous. It's already made me nervous.

For instance, this week a user has been using Google Groups to post warez links to our software along with trying to spam our news groups with defammatory statements about our products, me, and our company. He's not a customer (former or current). He's just..well some nutball. His posts only show up on Google Groups via his Google groups account because our NNTP server is private and you can only post to it directly. So luckily, few people actually see his nonsense.

But still, it's very annoying that someone could potentially find warez links along with libelous nonsense about me because he's on Google Groups. We never asked for Google to archive our internal tech support news server. They just do. I've contacted Google about this issue but haven't heard from them. His posts clearly violate their terms of service. But what if they just blow me off? If it were just some ISP or some other company, you could send the legal guys after them. A written request from lawyers can accomplish wonders. But this is Google. Tick them off and they can potentially erase you from existence as far as the rest of the world knows. 

My point isn't that I thnk Google would do that. The point is that they could do that if they wanted. They wouldn't even have to do anything particularly malicious. Just tweak their search engine so that your results show up on the second page.  This isn't unique to Google, it would be true of any information resource that is emerging as dominant as Google is. I've said it myself - if it ain't on Google it might as well not exist. If Microsoft wants to retaliate against someone, it's hard for them to be subtle. But Google (or any other mega search engine company) could retaliate in ways that even the target wouldn't necessarily realize.

Thankfully, like I said, Google has been benevolent so far.  But I don't know about the rest of you but I'm finding myself in the awkward position of hoping that Microsoft does get into the search engine business with their own search engine technology.  Microsoft's anti-competitive practices are well known. I've seen them first hand during my OS/2 days.  But as long as there is reasonable competition in the search engine business, no one company will dominate what you see and don't see on the net. And that makes me feel a lot more comfortable. 

on Mar 28, 2004
I love google. It's fast even on a 56k modem, and is limited only by your computer. I agree, however, that it has the capability to be a political heavyweight.

on Mar 28, 2004

I don't get it--what with all the hits your articles reap. But I'm not a techie.

By the way how is it most users are called citizen for user access, and I'm power[2]?

on Mar 28, 2004
Sergey Brin and Larry Page have already made forbes billionaire list. Later this year they are going public offering shares which will be some of the most sought after stocks. All this and all it took them to impress me was the fact that google is the search engine on my sprint cellphone.
on Mar 28, 2004
stevendalus, Power User is level 2 access. You have higher access than others. The value of your trolling/insightful ratings are now doubled over citizens.
on Mar 28, 2004
What's up with the political machine site where I am an apparent candidate I looked up my name in google (ironically) and it came up with this profile does everyone have one?
on Mar 29, 2004
Thanks for the clarification, Brad.
on Mar 29, 2004
Brad!!!!  For a minute there you almost sounded like a democrat in a strange way!
on Mar 31, 2004
i know nothing bout you or this site. i actually found it on monday 3/29/2004 while chasing hits using the keywords 'search engine monoply" hoping to discover whether i was just having another attack of early-onset curmudgeoness/late-onset prudent paranoia or if there were others with concerns about what seem to me to be not-quite-as-gentle-as-they-used-to-be giants of the net. among other things i create and maintain a commercial website for a client who owns a relatively small specialized manfucturing corporation. over the four years prior to mid-january 2004, his site would be among the first five non-sponsored hits resulting from searches for his primary product categories and no worse than hits 10-15 for more obscure references. one day in january i noticed there were no referrals from google being logged...which made sense once i discovered if his site was listed at all, it was about 200 hits back from #1. since then ive spent a lot of time trying to determine what happened and more importantly how to remedy the situation. im still researching the why altho im relatively certain i know whats up. a well-crafted, relevant, informative and compliant website may achieve a decent ranking on merit alone just as every kid born an american citizen may grow up to be president. by the same token, as long as some of those kids are willing and able to to buy their way into office, the others who arent or cant neednt spend a lotta time memorizing the inaugeral oath.

for 20 years ive jumped at any opportunity to revile microsoft and all its pomps and works. fnding your essay was as much a shock to me as having heard myself telling three people on three consecutive days last week (march 17, 18 & 19 to be exact) that a search engine id worshipped and exalted might be on the verge of making gates et al seem like an obsessively altruistic santa and his helpers. judging from the name of your site and some of the other titles i see here, i doubt theres much about which wed agree. youll have to take me at my word that my ranting last week was so similar to what youve written that it gave me chills.

the chills just keep coming btw. i tried to access your site last nite by using the same searchwords in google and apparently your server wasnt accessible for several hours between midnight and 3am pst. thats not terribly unusual of course. not as strange as this anyway: on three different occasions, clickin the google link to your site took me here: if i were able id attach a report generated by hijackthis after the 2nd time it happened. nothing on my system was responsible for that.

on Apr 12, 2004
The suggested program cleaner.exe worked fine with me.

on May 24, 2004
Thank you jeroen for this tip
on Jul 13, 2004
Google is always kicking me back as soon as I work my way up. The Google giant rules. The rest of us are little goats under the bridge!