Google has built its reputation on providing a great search engine that delivers extremely relevant search results through semantics. They were seen by many as the cool, free spirited company and their informal motto “Don’t be evil” was a standout in the world.
Now however, Google seems to be trying to capture so much of the online marketplace and force users towards their brand, that I feel they are starting to actually damage their brand.
Many Google services now force users to have a Gmail account. For example Google Checkout (now Google Wallet) requires users to have a Gmail account just to make a purchase. YouTube, a service Google bought in 2006 is the same and now users must have a Gmail account to use its features. Why?
Yes it’s all about capturing customer data to compete with the likes of Facebook and Apple but is this really what people want? Personally I really dislike it when a website forces me to do something I don’t want to do, like give over too much information. If I want to buy some pet food for my dog or comment on a YouTube video, I don’t want to have to create a Gmail account to do it.
It is alleged that Google+, the relatively new social networking site, has an impact on your websites Google search ranking depending on how many +1’s you receive and the number of circles you are included in. The Head of Search at Studio 24, James Perrott strongly believes that having an active Google+ account will benefit websites in Google’s search rankings.
James also stated that it is currently unknown just how much advantage a website will receive through an active Google+ profile, but he believes it will inevitably be part of their ranking algorithm now and in the future. One could quite easily argue that this is unethical.
With the leading search engine giving preferential treatment to websites actively using Google+ and it’s product ‘Street View’ illegally harvesting UK households personal data; Google’s growth could potentially be detrimental to it’s well earned search reputation.
Google produces some great products and has been brilliant for the Internet, but are they now trying too hard by having their fingers in too many pies?