My Visit to Google

“We want Google to be the third half of your brain.”
– Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google

 

imageUpon receiving news of the tour of Google Headquarters at 111-8th Avenue, in NYC, thoughts of The Wizard of Oz came to mind. Journeying to the Emerald City of technology to see the people behind the enigmatic curtain of the internet and other Great Mysteries was a much-anticipated event.

imageCuriosity abounds about Google. We’ve all heard of their legendary office culture and forward-looking ventures.

You get off the A train, and it’s right there; the fourth largest building in New York. When you enter, there’s a security fleet.  After an ID check, I received a premade name tag with QR code. The liaison was waiting.

Our first stop was the Visitor Center. It showcased early computers dating back to the first IBM, a snack bar, and Lego models. That’s right, Legos. Apparently, the founders have a thing for Legos. They supposedly encourage a playful, childlike atmosphere. Okay.

Other than those Legos, playfulness was not to be seen. Every recreational facility was empty. Everyone was staring at their screens, and it was hard to find anyone conversing, other than in conference rooms. There was an absence of laughter and joviality. Cameras were allowed as far as the Visitor Center.

The tour continued to the auditorium, more offices, and more cafeterias. Nothing to” oogle” over. There were employee cafeterias, more like buffet restaurants, throughout the building. The food was free for all employees, and it was GOOD! Real grills, juice bars, salad bars, desserts!

Google was very generous and treated a free lunch from an employee cafeteria. It was like Thanksgiving once again! It’s quite evident why no one leaves the building for lunch. That’s the idea; to save time and increase employee productivity.

Borg_drones_2365

Borg Drones

Admittedly, I did feel a certain eeriness walking those long corridors that included the occasional employee on a laptop, often Apple Macbooks – not Androids, in the hallways or their pods. The Borg came to mind.

You Must Comply.

The thought occurred that it wasn’t until the inception of Circle and Spear that feelings about Google gradually began to go south; eventually realizing that despite being such a massive and forward thinking company, it was also small-minded, highly guarded, and secretive. From this customer’s perspective, Google more appears to focus on cornering and driving markets rather than expanding and creating new ones. Google,  you are welcome to prove my assessment incorrect.

The first discovery of this limited thinking mission was experiencing first-hand their Adsense program. For those who don’t know what it is: you grant advertisers permission, through Google, to place ads on your site – if someone clicks an ad, you get a fraction of a penny. In the end, it’s really for suckers. That’s why a slew of Pay-Per-Click companies keep popping up. Even Amazon is in the game, now.

There were certain distasteful types of ads that were unavoidable. All reps reported back that it was not their department. No one could connect me to that elusive Adsense department for help. If you agree to accept the Adsense terms of agreement, then you forfeit your right to opt out of certain kinds of ads. Oh yeah, they let you opt out of some, but other noxious ads you can’t.

Yes, one is only paid a fraction of a penny if someone clicks on one of these atrocities. In the two weeks that the ads ran, less than a handful of readers clicked on the ads! That makes thousands who had to suffer bad taste for less than a dime! COME ON MAN! “I’m no fool, Jackson!”

The ads visually trashed the site while giving the advertisers quality exposure. Meanwhile, Google profits over both advertiser and us. Do people intentionally click on ads for liposuction or the NRA? After futile struggling to acquire some control over which ads appeared on the site, the final determination was that Google’s Adsense is Nonsense.

Now, most of you know that this is probably the first negative thing ever written on this site. Returning to positive, here is a possible solution:

First; drop the pay-per-click model and replace it with pay-per-view. They know which IP address is viewing a site page for the first time and which one is revisiting. If someone sees this ad from your site then, like a television ad, the advertiser should pay for it.

Second; give the site owner the choice of which company and product they want to present on their site. The more popular the ad, the less it pays out per view. So, an ad for an iPhone 6 might pay 1/5 of a cent while an ad for liposuction would pay $0.02.

During the construction and running of this site, analytics revealed that Google knows what we are reading on our computers every time we click on a page. They also know how long we remain there! Everything is cataloged. It was hard to believe that they could actually accomplish such a feat. They can.

It’s nearly impossible to lessen Google’s span to conduct online commerce without it. Their search engine still towers over all rivals. Over 90% of all internet search clicks come through Google.

Most “pay-per-click” ad companies require Google Analytic’s Unique Visitor Stats, even though AWStats works better for Twitter users. Unique visitors are IP addresses that have not visited a site previously. So, if 100 people click on a tweet buffer link, that counts as one or sometimes zero visitors if it’s a retweet. If someone Googles this site and clicks, then that’s one unique visitor unless they clicked before. Yes, this is rigged to get more Adwords paid advertisers for Google search. Another way they fix the system to rake in more revenue.

Circle and Spear has one stat that the advertisers don’t even regard.  92.6% of all readers bookmark something from this site! (So, where are all the social media followers? Perhaps, these are not as important as Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus want us to believe?)

Now, don’t get me wrong, as far as companies go; I neither have a more positive or negative opinion of Google. On the tour, the hosts were very friendly, pleasant, and generous. They spoke of their motto: “Do No Harm,” with pride; as though it was “really cool.”

Considering how screwed up the world still is, this motto doesn’t seem to be enough. Doesn’t this attitude fall short of the potential good an enterprise this dominant is capable of achieving?

Corporations are always looking for new customers. There’s no need to keep squeezing the same lemons dry. Is there? Plant new lemons. Create new customers.

How?

1. Elevate the lives of the poor: there are your new customers!

2. Educate and bring accurate information to the poor: there is your world peace.

3. Help the poor build reasonable dwellings and functioning infrastructures: there’s your end to squalor and human pollution.

4. Bring health education and medicine to the poor: there’s your end to many diseases.

Google is a smart organization that hires intelligent, creative people. Many of us still have great hopes for it. After all, who is in a better position to instigate real positive change? We now know it’s not a  government paralyzed by self-interests.

If enough customers and shareholders voice their opinions on how Google and other large corporations carry on, then perhaps these multinationals will eventually see that by truly serving mankind they are in turn serving their own benefit.

Dorothy, click your heels three times. We’re going home.

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James Finn

Author: James Finn

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