Google: "We're the good guys, remember?"

Tue 2 March 2010 18:05, Barry Adams

Google: "We're the good guys, remember?"

As Google is coming under ever increasing scrutiny and pressure (such as the ruling against it in Italy, and the inquiry the European Commission has allegedly started), it goes ever more on the defensive.

Today the Google Public Policy blog posted an entry from Matt Cutts in which he defends the company's practices, claiming Google's search product really is an open and transparent thing.

Cutts rejects the accusations that Google Search is a 'black box', and says that Google engineers have been informing and helping the webmasters of this world for years through blog posts, help centres, and presences on relevant forums and events.

Cutts also makes the case that tools like Google Webmaster Tools offer webmasters in-depth insights in how Google sees and ranks their website.

I agree with Matt Cutts - up to a point. He'd be entirely correct in his passionate defence of his employer, if Google really worked that way.

But as any seasoned SEO knows, what Google says and what Google does are often entirely different things.

And Cutts, in his focus on Search, fails to acknowledge the mistakes Google has made on other fronts that reflect badly on how its search product is perceived.

Google wants to be perceived as the 'good guys'. That's how they managed to grow to the size they are today. But Google has become a victim of its own success. The company has grown too big, too omnipresent, too damn powerful, to be able to pull off the good guys trick.

In their efforts to "organise the world's information", they've overstepped boundaries people considered almost sacred. And that's costing them.

But Google shouldn't worry too much. Microsoft survived several anti-trust cases against them with minimal repercussions. I'm sure that, with sufficiently savvy political sponsorships, Google can do the same.

They just need to stop being so naive and start playing the big corporate game. Though I'm not sure they're really ready for that yet. Because if they do go down that route, they will really need to come to grips with the fact that they're no longer the good guys.

They'll need to accept that they've become another Microsoft.

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