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Google Needs Competition in Advertising

11 days ago

Google's business is advertising, not search. That's where their monopoly lies and that's where competition is needed. We probably don't need many other search engines. There is only so many improvements to be done in search. Over the years, information has been distilled. Google's main use is as a misspelling corrector, a wikipedia shortcut, a DNS shortcut, a keyword lookup for the news of the day and a product matcher in a few merchant sites. That's because most commercial sectors of the net are already in their post-competitive period, and only the winners in each category are still alive. Their number is not even enough to fit the first page of results. And the content that used to go in blogs, it's now behind twitter or facebook, unreachable to any search engine (except for corporate blogs which are used for SEO reasons). The recent changes in google search have infantilized it, burying anything but the most obvious sites. SEO doesnt even count that much, instead it's curated "reputation" that matters.We might be at a point where DMOZ is probably viable, because there aren't now 1000 entries in each category, but 10. In fact a Dmoz would probably be a mightier competitor to their search.


But the key is , we need competition in advertising. After http referrer was removed from queries, we left all the information about the user's intent to google, and, unsurprisingly , they ate it all, and then some more, leaving a progressively diminishing piece of the advertising/intent processing pie to the rest of the internet. Is that ethical? Is it OK that a website doesn't know why the user visited it? After all, the user typed it in the browser's bar , not on google. Perhaps search queries should be initiated in the browser, and available to subsequent clicks for processing.


And as for tracking, is it OK that google is the only one who is tracking users? Shouldnt tracking be a user's decision, provided and mediated by the browser to any website who asks for it? Like it or not, advertising is not going away and it's healthier for the net if a large number of publishers share that (growing) pie rather than if google eats all of it. Tracking doesnt kill people, but anti-tracking hysteria causes some people their jobs. Perhaps we should be pragmatic, because being irrationally anti-pragmatic is only serving Google's long-term interests


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