25 Things I Love About Google

Love, hate. Love, hate. When it comes to Google, I did the “hate” side of my
love/hate relationship over in my
25 Things I Hate About Google article. In this
article, I’m all about the love. How do I love Google? Let me count the 25 ways
into my heart:

1. Personalized search simply gets better and
better.
You’re doing a great job of refining results to bring up stuff I
like.

2. Web search still serves me well. Despite its faults, it’s still great. It gets me to
helpful information all the time.

3. News search keeps me informed. Just like
web search, news search remains a great performer to help me find current
content.

4. Froogle rocks. I’m always looking for
odd, unusual products. Personally, I’ve found Froogle is a good fit for my need
to ferret out deals.

5. Google Maps changed the way people think
about search.
After years of people asking how else search results might
change, it was great to see the map metaphor take hold. It’s hard to believe
it’s barely a year old. Google Maps, especially mash-ups, helped people see how
information might be better displayed outside of a top ten list. I can’t wait to
see another breakthrough like this, whether by you or someone else. Plus, the
maps aren’t bad, either :)

6. Gmail rocks. Download my email into a
software client yet still have an infinite archive?
I was sold. Yeah, maybe I’ll
regret it in five years when the US Department Of Justice breaks into Google HQ
or some rogue Google employee sniffs through all my posts. But I’m remaining
optimistic. It’s certainly convenient.

7. Google Sitemaps continuing to roll out cool
tools.
Stats?
A robots.txt file
checker
? Stop it! If you keep doing things like this that webmasters want,
I’ll no longer be able to
mock the
usual “we’re always open to new ideas” response that used to be a code phrase
for “maybe when hell freezes over we might do that.”

8. Matt Cutts, Marissa Mayer & Googlers In
General:
I name Matt and Marissa specifically because they are probably the two
Googlers I spend the most time talking with. However, they epitomize what you’d
find about Googlers in general. The love stories in the news are no
exaggeration. They smart, dedicated and wanting to do big things that will help
people in general. Google itself is getting bigger and more frightening in ways
as it grows. As a counterbalance, the Googlers are imbued with a spirit you
can’t help but admire and appreciate. And the good news is, their competitors
have employees just as inspired and smart. It makes the entire industry better.

9. Pulling a Google and changing things:
Gmail changed how we viewed email. Google Maps took mapping to a new level. I
love when the company pulls out something new or puts a different twist on an
old idea. Bring us more of this!

10. Giving things away for free: Yeah,
giving things away for free was also on my hate list. So I’m conflicted. About
two years ago, hardly anyone had decent, fast, cheap desktop search. Google’s
entry now leaves consumers with a glut of choices. Running that new web site and
want hot analytics? Have some for free on Google. It’s a great thing for that
little mom-and-pop start up to have.

11. AdSense helping publishers: There’s a
ton of junk that AdSense helps support, but it has also transformed the web in
terms of supporting good stuff. Before it arrived, many small sites largely
depending on hoping an Amazon affiliate link would generate some income. AdSense
has definitely helped more people make a living from writing quality content
online and spurred others to compete to reward these publishers, as well.

12. Returning search to its glory: Maybe
we’ll see the current Portal Wars II cause Google, Yahoo, MSN and AOL to lose
focus on search in the way portals of the past did. However, I suspect not.
Google’s rise proved that search was a feature, a key feature that could make
you billions. They all, along with Ask, know that search has to remain
supported. I love Google for revitalizing search in this way.

13. Google Desktop Search’s cache: Time
and again, it’s helped me find examples of pages I’ve previously visited but
forgotten to save, since I didn’t know at the time I might want to. Plus, it’s
also helped me on occasions when I’ve accidentally deleted or lost some of my
own content.

14. The Library Scanning project: I think
they’re probably fine on the legal grounds of making an index of copyrighted
works. We’ll see, of course. Certainly they’d have been smarter to start with
the wealth of material clearly out-of-copyright. But ultimately, I’m glad
they’ve kickstarted efforts to bring books into the digital age. The vast
majority of our knowledge is locked in books, and so few of them are searchable.
Google wasn’t the first to do digitize books, but they certainly accelerated it.

15. Personifying the importance of search:
I started writing about search 10 years ago next month because I could see it
was important, not just to marketers but also to those who depend on these
amazing tools. Search gained attention over the years but never quite as much as
it deserved, in terms of how much we all rely on it. If I said I wrote about
search engines pre-Google, people would kind of nod their heads and show some
interest. Google’s emergence as the wunderkind of search has boosted our own
recognition of search in our lives. It became the poster child of search, the
thing that everyone could identify with, that everyone had used. While I can
also hate that Google is sometimes too much credited for search, I still love
that it has helped people better feel a connection with search tools.

16. Translating the web: Google Translate
wasn’t the first page translation tool, but it has continued to improve and add
languages. The translations may also be far from perfect, but they can often
help me understand what a page is generally about. It’s actually an amazing tool
that I just take for granted when I need it.

17. Saving the internet’s early discussions:
Google Groups is far from a Usenet archive these days, but I still love the fact
that Google way back saved the Deja archives so that we can read early
discussions of the internet that happened on the internet.

18. Google Earth: I don’t use the
software. So how can I love it? From afar, from being able to see how many other
people clearly love it, being able to fly over the earth and do virtual tours.
If I didn’t spend so much of my day on the computer, I’m sure I’d be spending
more time with Google Earth and flying the kids around with it.

19. Google Analytics: I sort of covered
this above, but Google Analytics is a great tool that deserves a mention on its
own. Yep, there are also other great tools out there such as ClickTracks, but
there’s plenty for a webmaster to love — and love for free — with Google
Analytics.

20. Picasa: OK, I opt for the fee-based
Adobe Photoshop Elements still, but Picasa’s a solid product. I have no problem
recommending it to anyone looking for a photo organizing and customizing tool,
especially if they can’t afford to buy one. There’s plenty to love in Picasa.

21. Fighting The US Department Of
Justice:
Sure, there’s plenty of self-interest in Google going up against
the DOJ in the case involving query logs. But I’ve got no doubt that a big part
of it is because the government asked for too much, and I’m glad Google’s
standing up to it.

22. Talking more: Google has come
under fire for being closed mouthed or secretive, but I’d argue they are talking
more in various ways than ever before. There are a number of official Google
Blogs, and it’s not just corporate fluff on them. Google’s out at more and more
to conferences, our own and others, plus individual employees are doing a ton of
talking. The popularity of Matt Cutts’s blog has been phenomenal, for example.
People are tuning in and, unofficial or not, a Google message is getting out.

23. Gmail’s conversations: Aside from
loving Gmail archiving, it’s great being able to see all my related
conversations on a topic automatically linked. I don’t always need this, but
when I do, it’s a savior.

24. Searching my desktop:
Sure, there are better, more powerful tools. Sure, I’d like to see Google
Desktop evolve more. But it remains a dependable and low-impact way for me to
locate material on my computer. It’s changed my work habits for the better.

25. The philosophy: OK, another item that
was also on my hate list. Yes, I do think they need a more realistic philosophy.
However, I’m also glad they aspire to higher things and things that aren’t
necessarily related to money. I want a big company to pull that off, to be
successful but not successful at any price.

Want to add your own loves? Disagree with mine? Please visit our
What Do You
Love About Google
thread at the Search Engine Watch Forums.

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