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Google Juggernaut

This week’s Hitwise results show Google gaining its predominance of the U.S. search space:
Google 60.2%
Yahoo 22.5%
MSN 11.8%
other 5.5%
This was for the period ending July 29, 2006. By Hitwise’s count, there are 57 search engines in this universe.
Add to this the recent agreements to have Google power search at AOL and MySpace and pay billions of dollars for the privilege, and you have a technosphere dominance unseen since the days of Big Blue or the beast from Redmond. I wonder when the backlash will hit? When will folks be as skeptical of Google’s dominance and motives as they were of IBM and Microsoft? Or is critical thinking dead?
I’ve been predicting for a while that the merger of Google Maps and Google Local was a precurser to a huge incursion into the local space. What will libraries do when Google can sense that the search is coming from your town or your campus? Will they default the page to their Google College page or a locally aware ad page server? We see the beginning of this with the introduction of local coupons in Gogle Maps. Read about that here. Google needs to serve its clients – advertisers. They pay most of the bills. Google needs to keep growing its revenue. Combined that means making a huge play in local ads – newspaper, yellow pages, classified, etc. How it does this and in partnership with whom is up for evolution and revolution.
For libraries, whose strength is our local community and learning presence, we better be watching and adapting. Have you looked at how your locations display in Google Maps? I find a lot of libraries are invisible in this space. Not good. If Google chooses to default to a local presence for search (vs. the national modality now), will you be upfront or buried? Ask how many ads you buy to get the answer.
Then again, libraries aren’t about search. We’re about community, learning and interaction. We don’t need to compete head to head and point by point with search engines. We do have to get better at promotion and positioning ourselves in the minds of the user as being about more than books.

Posted on: August 15, 2006, 7:24 am Category: Uncategorized

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