Is Google The Borg or Big Brother

Google is growing and the question of whether or not it has become too invasive (or persuasive) is one that needs to be answered now. While using pop culture references to attract attention to this situation is fun, it also captures the massive popularity of Google itself.

As any Star Trek fan can tell you, "[t]he Borg have become a symbol in popular culture for any juggernaut against whom "resistance is futile."

Google has shown elements of this with its acquisition of companies and giving away their services leaving others in those industries worried about their futures. Web Analytics (Urchin), Office software, and DoubleClick (the purchase of which has anti-trust examinations both in the US and Europe).

The other part of Google is the control they have on a very powerful industry that impacts people's lives and perceptions. When Google has the lion share of all searches made globally they have the ability to manipulate what people see.

They can hold a company's very existence in their algorithm. They can manipulate PPC rules and cost people a lot of money to maintain their marketing.

But beyond that people are hooked on Google. A recent study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that over 47% of internet users have Googled themselves. A big jump from the 22% of 2002. We want to know what Google thinks of us... well really we want to know how we rate in Google. People see themselves as a reflection of the SERPs.... please tell me that is not true.

Meanwhile Google is rolling out their Google Profiles - a scary Big Brother type of scenario. But everyone loves Google and will be happy to give their information over to the collective.

As Wired magazine online notes people are fast grabbing a G-Identity.

While it is fun to mix the pop culture references, the humor lies in the kernel of truth that makes it funny. I guess we really have to hope they live up to their motto to "Do No Evil".

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.