The BBC's Money Programme did a big look at Google over here in the UK last Friday night. John Battelle was interviewed as part of it and points over to where you can read a summary of the story or watch the entire programme online. It's well worth watching (my mother-in-law enjoyed it; she's never been on the web or used search at all), and it runs the range of all things Google, from the company's start to issues such as controversy over Google's library scanning program and click fraud.
Sad -- one of my favorite children's authors when growing up, Judy Blume, hates Google because of the library scanning program. Sad also that the Money Programme makes it out as if Google is reprinting books online without permission, which isn't the case. Watch this program, and you could easily believe that Google's run out, scanned a copy of Blume's "Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret" and put that online for people to read. That's not the case.
Also interesting is Google's Marissa Mayer commenting on click thifraud: "It is a serious problem for us, but it is also a very solvable problem."
What's missing from the show? An indication that there are any other search engines in the world that do many of the same things, and successfully, as Google. It's like the world of search began with Google and still only contains Google. Among the many threats the program says Google faces, I don't recall a mention of competition being one of these.
Postscript from Gary: You can go directly to the BBC programme about Google by using this URL. A console box should open with the program and direct links to each section of the show. You can also use this url and find an overview article and direct links to various portions of the program.
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