Does Google Really Listen To Its Users?

Three years ago Danny Sullivan wrote two articles "25 Things I Love About Google" and "25 Things I Hate About Google". They were both good articles, though like Matt Cutts, I do not agree with all of his points. Which ones and why are very different from Matts.

But looking at the articles is a good way to see how Google has addressed user needs over the past three years.

In the Hate article, some things were addressed - the user interface, easier access to tools, RSS feeds, use of Open Directory titles and descriptions, breaking out search revenues, and Gmail customization.

But many still have not been changed - some may not need to be - such as making things paid or putting brakes on self-served AdSense - but there are some that just show a disregard for the users.

Search counts still make no sense, results are still stacked with pages from the same sites as you drill down in the hopes of better information, country specific search (Danny's idea of a universal result seems a little dated in these days of international marketing and information written to specific cultures), giving advertisers the ability to pick and choose search (expanded has gotten even more out of hand), copyright infringement on blogger still not addressed and links to referring sites in Analytics.

Danny's call to "fix the philosophy" is a concept many people have complained about and derided for years. I guess Google believes in there is no such thing as bad publicity - as their continuing of "Do No Evil" is just a joke at this stage.

In his "love" list there are a few elements that I disagree with. Google Analytics while a decent product has killed an industry without antitrust examination. Returning search to its glory is a little too much love - Google is fast becoming a monopoly of search - and as it is the source of most people's information that is a scary thing to have in the hands of a money motivated corporation - though the government would do little better.

And if you think the willingness to censor Chinese results or have a set of rules that go beyond what is legally limited to a corporate vision is wrong. Their stance on RipOff Reports is just one such example that shows disregard for people especially when they do censor other areas.

Google has not really addressed the issues, despite Matt suggesting the artciles be looked on as bug reports. Come on guys it has been three years and yet you still have the major issues Danny listed yet to be changed.

If you want to be the big brother then act responsibly.

About the author

Frank Watson has been involved with the Web since it started. For the past five years, he headed SEM for FXCM -- at one time one of the top 25 spenders with AdWords. He has worked with most of the major analytics companies and pioneered the ability to tie online marketing with offline conversion.

He has now started his own marketing agency, Kangamurra Media. This new venture will keep him busy when he is not editing the Search Engine Watch forums, blogging at a number of authoritative sites, and developing some interesting online community sites.

He was one of the first 100 AdWords Professionals, a Yahoo and Overture Ambassador, and a member or mod of many of the industry forums. He is also on the Click Quality Council and has worked hard to diminish click fraud.