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Google not resting on its search laurels

As easy as it can be to point a finger at Google and vilify them for all that they do wrong (Wave, Buzz etc etc), it is just as important to keep track of just how much innovation is still coming out from the granddaddy of all Internet monsters. Innovation you say? How is that possible? Aren’t they just a search company that is milking their market advantage for all it is worth, while they desperately search (pun completely and fully intended) for a way to be something more than a search play? The easy answer to the last question is yes. The real answer, however, is not even close.

This past week is a real indicator of just what Google is up to these days. What is coming from many of the latest product changes and updates is the feeling that Google is actually quite comfortable being the dominant search player, they intend to stay that way, and they have good reasons. The most important is that search is likely to be a linchpin component of the Internet space for as long as we can see ahead.

Google knows this and has learned to weather the storm of criticism aimed at them by people like me who think they have some say in how the company should be run. I admit that I am delusional in thinking that Google knows who I am and actually cares. They don’t on either count and that’s fine. In the end, all they care about is that I understand what they actually are doing well, and that when I discuss the company, I concentrate on what is helping me rather than what I think Google should be doing to help me more.
To be honest, I am not usually this benevolent in my assessment of Google. In fact, I love to try to tear them apart. That was until this week, when I realized that they are something to actually be admired. They are a company that is confident in their position in the industry and they are willing to experiment on levels that others simply cannot afford to. I’m not saying it’s a perfect model, but it seems to work well enough to generate billions of dollars in profits each year AND allows them to test the waters elsewhere.

Where I am seeing their brilliance is that they have learned that if they stray too far from their core competency of search, the wheels fall off the wagon quickly. The best stuff Google is doing these days is close to the mother ship in good ol’ fashioned search. It doesn’t mean they won’t try in the other areas, but it does mean that they won’t try at the expense of their search dominance. That’s just smart business.

Search Improvements

Just this week Google announced the following improvements in their search offerings:

Google Search With Instant Pages which essentially pre-loads the first result of a search so when you click on it (which Google has predicted the probability of) you won’t have to wait for the page to load. It’s there. Nifty.

Google Search By Image – Drop an image in the search box and see what happens. It’s that easy and the extensions for Chrome and Firefox browsers make it even easier.

Google Voice Search for Desktop – The title says it all, right?

Local Mobile Search Improvements – It’s easier to watch the quick video below to get this one. It’s very cool.

My Places – There’s more, including ways to aggregate the most important or memorable places in Google Places using the new My Places feature that is replacing the My Maps shortcut.

I guess you get the picture. No matter how much people want to trash Google for its ineffectiveness in the social realm (which they haven’t completely failed in yet but they are certainly just treading water at best) they know that search will still be a foundational aspect of the Web for the future. If they lead there, they will continue to be dominant in the Internet world, and in the rest of the world, period.

So, I tip my hat to Google, who keeps innovating despite the best efforts of the social media industry and the Internet marketing industry to throw dirt on their coffin. The real winners continue despite the naysayers.

Let’s just face it: Google is a winner.

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