I like Matt Cutts of Google

This post from Google’s Matt Cutts, that I just posted to my link blog, demonstrates why I think Matt is one of the best things going at Google in terms of relations with the outside world right now.

One piece of advice for Matt: Google will be judged unfairly. It has a dominant position in our society now. When a company gets to that role, it has to switch and become more transparent, more open, nicer, and more willing to consider those outside its doors. It will do Google a lot of good to bring some of that self-questioning into public view. I think you can do it without making your coworkers feel bad (although, personally, if you are really trying to change the world for good and are building systems that hundreds of millions of people will use, get a tougher skin and be willing to put up with some crap too. Believe me, it’s hard to take that medicine, though).

Now, I can just hear some of you saying that Google shouldn’t listen to that advice at all and should just continue being a hard-charging startup-style tech company that remains secretive about what it’s up to. I think that’s bad advice, and I point to how Microsoft behaved in the 1990s (and its current reputation) as evidence.

Google still has a lot of love for it around the world. It could do a lot worse than listening to Matt’s advice.  He’s one of Google’s best “conversationalists” around. A lot of the rest of Google’s blogs feel “PR controlled,” which is fine, but as Southwest is learning, if you don’t admit to your warts in public people will assume you aren’t listening and learning — two attributes Googlers tell me they definitely want Google to be known for.

Comments

  1. Great analysis of the position Google has grown into. They have to catch the cluetrain now. Another advice might be that they need to generate some revenue from something else then advertising. Advertising on the net is something that seems to evolve from time to time and my feeling is, that text-link ads will be redeemed by something else in not so far away future.

    Cheers, Jan

  2. Great analysis of the position Google has grown into. They have to catch the cluetrain now. Another advice might be that they need to generate some revenue from something else then advertising. Advertising on the net is something that seems to evolve from time to time and my feeling is, that text-link ads will be redeemed by something else in not so far away future.

    Cheers, Jan

  3. Scoble, what a load of B.S. from you here.

    The dominant Microsoft analogy? Come on, who forces you to use Google?

    Matt Cutts is a PR person doing damage control. Take a look at most anti-Google posts out there, you’ll see him often first in the comment sections. Hmmm. Also, this week’s questioning of “Google tips” can be juice to appear nice, open and get a conversation going on, don’t you think?

    What Google does is subject to interpretation. Mine about “Google tips” is that, following the SOAP API mess and the fact that screenscraping may be just the better way to get raw Google results now, those added tips I see as a warning from Google that screenscraping algorithms will have to be made much more sophisticated to do just that. A way to encourage people to stick to the Ajax widget API.

    As for being open, learning and all that, I think you don’t get the point at all. Let me explain. Let’s assume for the sake of the discussion that most algorithms are one way or another weighted sums, and that they change those weights daily in order to avoid SEO people gaming them too much, sploggers and so on. Where is Google secret here? What is the thing you want to know? You want to know the weights? What’s the point, they’ll be changed tomorrow. You want to know the algorithm? What’s the point, the algorithm is public for the most part, and at any given day, you can reconstruct it by putting enough effort into that. As long as you understand that next day, due to the changing weights, your efforts will have been made a waste of time.

    What do you think is so secretive you are DYING TO KNOW in all this?

  4. Scoble, what a load of B.S. from you here.

    The dominant Microsoft analogy? Come on, who forces you to use Google?

    Matt Cutts is a PR person doing damage control. Take a look at most anti-Google posts out there, you’ll see him often first in the comment sections. Hmmm. Also, this week’s questioning of “Google tips” can be juice to appear nice, open and get a conversation going on, don’t you think?

    What Google does is subject to interpretation. Mine about “Google tips” is that, following the SOAP API mess and the fact that screenscraping may be just the better way to get raw Google results now, those added tips I see as a warning from Google that screenscraping algorithms will have to be made much more sophisticated to do just that. A way to encourage people to stick to the Ajax widget API.

    As for being open, learning and all that, I think you don’t get the point at all. Let me explain. Let’s assume for the sake of the discussion that most algorithms are one way or another weighted sums, and that they change those weights daily in order to avoid SEO people gaming them too much, sploggers and so on. Where is Google secret here? What is the thing you want to know? You want to know the weights? What’s the point, they’ll be changed tomorrow. You want to know the algorithm? What’s the point, the algorithm is public for the most part, and at any given day, you can reconstruct it by putting enough effort into that. As long as you understand that next day, due to the changing weights, your efforts will have been made a waste of time.

    What do you think is so secretive you are DYING TO KNOW in all this?

  5. The Official Google Blog is NOT a Blog

     “The definition of “googol” is a number, and Google lives by numbers. So how else should we look back over the year but with numerical bits?” That’s the opening line of A year in Google blogging, then it lists the number of posts, products …

  6. I agree with Stephane above. Google is NOT dominant in anything. They have mindshare, but they are NOT dominant. As Stephane said, no one forces you to use Google. But having said that, Dell and other manufacturers are pre-loading Google with new computers, and this I find distasteful, much as I find being able to buy a new computer with no OS from a major vendor distasteful.
    If you look at actual numbers, more people use Yahoo! services than they use Google.

    Let’s look at some things:

    - Google is easy to game by SEOs or miscreants
    - Copying a Web page from another company? Whatever happened to innovation?
    - Results are heavily skewed to favor commercial interests

    … and a whole host of other things I won’t belabor here.

    Fact is, Google has reached its apex in my opinion and is no longer that relevant in the big scheme of things. An ad-based model? Yeah, whatever. Not long-term effective, and people far smarter than I have said so publicly.

    As we all know, every few years, a new leader emerges. Google has been at the apex now since 1998. Before them it was Altavista. Someone else will be around shortly that will trump Google. My fears about this are not that Google will be trumped, but rather that Google will buy any serious contended to what it considers its rightful dominant position. This is what stymies progress, IMO. Some companies are better left small and nimble.

    Robert, I’m not sure if you read Guy Kawasaki on a regular basis, but he’s good reading. Smart man, always on target. He’s got some interesting takes on all manner of things from VC to maintaining a company. Recommended.

  7. I agree with Stephane above. Google is NOT dominant in anything. They have mindshare, but they are NOT dominant. As Stephane said, no one forces you to use Google. But having said that, Dell and other manufacturers are pre-loading Google with new computers, and this I find distasteful, much as I find being able to buy a new computer with no OS from a major vendor distasteful.
    If you look at actual numbers, more people use Yahoo! services than they use Google.

    Let’s look at some things:

    - Google is easy to game by SEOs or miscreants
    - Copying a Web page from another company? Whatever happened to innovation?
    - Results are heavily skewed to favor commercial interests

    … and a whole host of other things I won’t belabor here.

    Fact is, Google has reached its apex in my opinion and is no longer that relevant in the big scheme of things. An ad-based model? Yeah, whatever. Not long-term effective, and people far smarter than I have said so publicly.

    As we all know, every few years, a new leader emerges. Google has been at the apex now since 1998. Before them it was Altavista. Someone else will be around shortly that will trump Google. My fears about this are not that Google will be trumped, but rather that Google will buy any serious contended to what it considers its rightful dominant position. This is what stymies progress, IMO. Some companies are better left small and nimble.

    Robert, I’m not sure if you read Guy Kawasaki on a regular basis, but he’s good reading. Smart man, always on target. He’s got some interesting takes on all manner of things from VC to maintaining a company. Recommended.

  8. Robert,

    I just heard that you will be the keynote speaker at Grand Canyon University for the next Arizona Entrepreneurship miniconference, “The Revolution in Marketing,” March 1, 2007 during National Entrepreneurship Week.

    Thank you for doing this and I/we hope to get a chance to meet you in person when you are here.

  9. Robert,

    I just heard that you will be the keynote speaker at Grand Canyon University for the next Arizona Entrepreneurship miniconference, “The Revolution in Marketing,” March 1, 2007 during National Entrepreneurship Week.

    Thank you for doing this and I/we hope to get a chance to meet you in person when you are here.

  10. Moose: Google is dominant in search traffic. WordPress gets more than half of its traffic from Google. The other engines are falling off. I’m seeing that behavior all over the place too.

    Google already is somewhere between 60% and 80% of all searches. That’s dominant in my book.

  11. Moose: Google is dominant in search traffic. WordPress gets more than half of its traffic from Google. The other engines are falling off. I’m seeing that behavior all over the place too.

    Google already is somewhere between 60% and 80% of all searches. That’s dominant in my book.

  12. [...] Google is dominant. Google is a major player. Like most mornings, I’m reading some blog comments and reading some blog posts.  Many this morning are about Google and about various opinions related to Google’s positioning itself in people’s minds and on people’s computers.  (UPDATE: fodder: here, here, here, here)  I have a couple quick thoughts and opinions of my own. [...]

  13. Google is NOT dominant except for in mindshare. Mindshare is NOT everything. Like I said, go and look at the stats. Yahoo gets far more traffic and usage than Google does.

    We should all be praying a better service comes along anyway.

    IMO, Google ceased being a decent search engine a couple of years ago, and has really declined recently. They are gamed far too easily for my liking, and the fact they place commercial interests above everything else is tiring and unfair. Search engines should be delivering search results, not marketing ads. Make money someplace else. Sell more search hardware, consult, anything but force me to see ads.

    I used to not use ad blocking software, but I’m about to start. There are also methods that block text ads. Ah, a junk-free Internet.

    I want results that are NOT laden with ads. I want relevant results about what I’m looking for, not what Google or some other search engine suggests. I don’t want to see “how about this…” If I search for beaches in Majorca, I don’t want to see ads for 5-star hotels. I know I need a hotel. I’m capable of seeking that out on my own. I’m tired of everyone monetizing everything. Dmoz, to me, is one of the better search engines out there. Plain Jane I know, but I get what people searching for the same topic think is interesting, not some monetizing behemoth.

  14. Google is NOT dominant except for in mindshare. Mindshare is NOT everything. Like I said, go and look at the stats. Yahoo gets far more traffic and usage than Google does.

    We should all be praying a better service comes along anyway.

    IMO, Google ceased being a decent search engine a couple of years ago, and has really declined recently. They are gamed far too easily for my liking, and the fact they place commercial interests above everything else is tiring and unfair. Search engines should be delivering search results, not marketing ads. Make money someplace else. Sell more search hardware, consult, anything but force me to see ads.

    I used to not use ad blocking software, but I’m about to start. There are also methods that block text ads. Ah, a junk-free Internet.

    I want results that are NOT laden with ads. I want relevant results about what I’m looking for, not what Google or some other search engine suggests. I don’t want to see “how about this…” If I search for beaches in Majorca, I don’t want to see ads for 5-star hotels. I know I need a hotel. I’m capable of seeking that out on my own. I’m tired of everyone monetizing everything. Dmoz, to me, is one of the better search engines out there. Plain Jane I know, but I get what people searching for the same topic think is interesting, not some monetizing behemoth.

  15. Moose: you’re absolutely wrong that Yahoo gets more search traffic than Google. Absolutely 100% wrong. Google gets almost all of the search traffic — according to every stat I’ve ever seen.

    Yeah, Yahoo has more other places, but those places don’t monetize as well and they certainly never bring traffic out to other sites the way Google does.

  16. Moose: you’re absolutely wrong that Yahoo gets more search traffic than Google. Absolutely 100% wrong. Google gets almost all of the search traffic — according to every stat I’ve ever seen.

    Yeah, Yahoo has more other places, but those places don’t monetize as well and they certainly never bring traffic out to other sites the way Google does.

  17. [...] Dare, I read you regularly and hope you don’t stop. While undoubtedly there are those who would want you to do just that,  ”the couple thousand folks who read” your ”blog regularly” would be disappointed. As Robert Scoble over at Scobleizer told Google’s Matt Cutts in a December 31, 2006, post headlined I like Matt Cutts of Google: …if you are really trying to change the world for good and are building systems that hundreds of millions of people will use, get a tougher skin and be willing to put up with some crap too. Believe me, it’s hard to take that medicine, though). [...]

  18. Moose — you are wrong. Google is the Kleenex of searches. My mother uses Google as a verb.

    On my sites, 90% of all search engine traffic comes from Google. I would consider that dominant at least for me.

  19. Moose — you are wrong. Google is the Kleenex of searches. My mother uses Google as a verb.

    On my sites, 90% of all search engine traffic comes from Google. I would consider that dominant at least for me.

  20. Robert,

    I just went and looked at the daily Alexa stats for search.yahoo.com and google.com. Yahoo is so far ahead it’s not even funny.

    Yahoo, just today at the time when I ran the comparison, got almost 3 times the search traffic on its search engine by itself, not counting Yahoo’s other offerings.

    Google still has many people using it, but all Romes will fall.

    I’ll bet if I run this again tonight the results will be similar. Google gets millions of hits, but not as many as Yahoo search.

    Can’t argue the stats. Alexa has nothing to gain from putting up false stats.

  21. Robert,

    I just went and looked at the daily Alexa stats for search.yahoo.com and google.com. Yahoo is so far ahead it’s not even funny.

    Yahoo, just today at the time when I ran the comparison, got almost 3 times the search traffic on its search engine by itself, not counting Yahoo’s other offerings.

    Google still has many people using it, but all Romes will fall.

    I’ll bet if I run this again tonight the results will be similar. Google gets millions of hits, but not as many as Yahoo search.

    Can’t argue the stats. Alexa has nothing to gain from putting up false stats.

  22. Moose: Alexa’s stats are HIGHLY inaccurate. Everyone knows that. Anyone who uses them to win an argument is just not playing fair. Do you even know how Alexa gets its stats? Please do explain. Cause I know that its audience is self-selected users of a toolbar. That alone makes it irrelevant.

    Yahoo’s domain has tons of traffic. Agreed. But its search engine is about 1/10th of what Google’s is in terms of traffic.

  23. Moose: Alexa’s stats are HIGHLY inaccurate. Everyone knows that. Anyone who uses them to win an argument is just not playing fair. Do you even know how Alexa gets its stats? Please do explain. Cause I know that its audience is self-selected users of a toolbar. That alone makes it irrelevant.

    Yahoo’s domain has tons of traffic. Agreed. But its search engine is about 1/10th of what Google’s is in terms of traffic.

  24. Robert,

    I won’t concede to that guy’s website or method, but suffice it to say that we will probably never know for sure. Google may refer more traffic, but Yahoo gets more hits. That’s all I was saying.

    I have never understood the Google hype. Even you have to admit that Google’s search returns have become less and less relevant over the last year to 18 months. Google is gamed so badly it’s not even laughable.

    You have to admit that Google is not the only game in town that provides decent search results. I search for some pretty obscure travel destinations and Yahoo always comes back with more relevant results. Always. Google focuses way too much on ads. Yahoo does as well, but it’s not near as bad. Like I said before, Dmoz is the antidote to all this. I want results that other PEOPLE find interesting, not monetized results. If I’m searching for beaches on some little island, I do not want to see results for hotels. I want to see only beach results. Full stop.

    Great blog. Make it better in 2007.

    Cheers,

    Moose

  25. Robert,

    I won’t concede to that guy’s website or method, but suffice it to say that we will probably never know for sure. Google may refer more traffic, but Yahoo gets more hits. That’s all I was saying.

    I have never understood the Google hype. Even you have to admit that Google’s search returns have become less and less relevant over the last year to 18 months. Google is gamed so badly it’s not even laughable.

    You have to admit that Google is not the only game in town that provides decent search results. I search for some pretty obscure travel destinations and Yahoo always comes back with more relevant results. Always. Google focuses way too much on ads. Yahoo does as well, but it’s not near as bad. Like I said before, Dmoz is the antidote to all this. I want results that other PEOPLE find interesting, not monetized results. If I’m searching for beaches on some little island, I do not want to see results for hotels. I want to see only beach results. Full stop.

    Great blog. Make it better in 2007.

    Cheers,

    Moose

  26. @5. Huh? And here I was recommending Grand Canyon University as an option for my daughter. Having grown up in its shadows when it was known as Grand Canyon College (and a baseball and basektball powerhouse, btw). Well, scratch that off the list now that I know that. What’s next? Having Britney Spears come speak about motherhood?

  27. @5. Huh? And here I was recommending Grand Canyon University as an option for my daughter. Having grown up in its shadows when it was known as Grand Canyon College (and a baseball and basektball powerhouse, btw). Well, scratch that off the list now that I know that. What’s next? Having Britney Spears come speak about motherhood?

  28. Moose,

    I agree with you that Yahoo search is very decent now. But most people I know are used to Google for search and most stats show that too.

    The problem with your Alexa comparison is that Alexa does not distinguish subdomain and main domain. The traffic data for search.yahoo.com are the same for http://www.yahoo.com. Try it and you will see.

  29. Moose,

    I agree with you that Yahoo search is very decent now. But most people I know are used to Google for search and most stats show that too.

    The problem with your Alexa comparison is that Alexa does not distinguish subdomain and main domain. The traffic data for search.yahoo.com are the same for http://www.yahoo.com. Try it and you will see.

  30. “Moose: you’re absolutely wrong that Yahoo gets more search traffic than Google. Absolutely 100% wrong. Google gets almost all of the search traffic — according to every stat I’ve ever seen.

    Yeah, Yahoo has more other places, but those places don’t monetize as well and they certainly never bring traffic out to other sites the way Google does.”

    Someone siad that “Yahoo gets more search traffic than Google”. I cant agree with that opinion. Where this guy find those reports ?? That is a fact that Yahoo has more places but Google is evolving all the time. Few years ago we saw their capability and they will never stop:)

  31. “Moose: you’re absolutely wrong that Yahoo gets more search traffic than Google. Absolutely 100% wrong. Google gets almost all of the search traffic — according to every stat I’ve ever seen.

    Yeah, Yahoo has more other places, but those places don’t monetize as well and they certainly never bring traffic out to other sites the way Google does.”

    Someone siad that “Yahoo gets more search traffic than Google”. I cant agree with that opinion. Where this guy find those reports ?? That is a fact that Yahoo has more places but Google is evolving all the time. Few years ago we saw their capability and they will never stop:)

  32. Great analysis of the Google.Google lives by numbers. On my sites too, 90% of all search engine traffic comes from Google.

  33. Great analysis of the Google.Google lives by numbers. On my sites too, 90% of all search engine traffic comes from Google.

  34. I preffer YAHOO in some cases. I make some tests at my website.. I checked rezults for my site on some few words. Google return only few of my BL but YAHOO show me thousands of links. Google have some few bugs but still is most popular in world.

  35. I preffer YAHOO in some cases. I make some tests at my website.. I checked rezults for my site on some few words. Google return only few of my BL but YAHOO show me thousands of links. Google have some few bugs but still is most popular in world.