The REAL Google bomb?


managing director

I am not talking about getting Bush’s or Obama’s website found at the top of the listings when doing a search for ‘failure’, I’m pondering over what might one day topple Google. Is this possible? Would it be possible if Google used Page Rank as part of its algorithm in a licence arrangement with Stanford Uni? Read on...

The Internet revolution is still in its infancy and we have already seen some casualties that have been a surprise. Take Bill Gross and his company Goto (latterly Overture); it wasn’t long ago that he was the pioneer for paid search and his company cornered the market. If Gross had stuck to his guns and concentrated on building Goto as a destination search engine rather than providing syndicated content to the main portals of the time (mainly Yahoo and MSN) then perhaps Gross's GoTo could have been what Google is today.

Gross originally came up with the formula that made Google the success it is today; paid search on a ‘pay per click’ model – without AdWords Google would not be the company that it is today. Google never really had a clear understanding of how to monetise the huge amounts of traffic they were generating until this new approach came along...

Although Gross got $1.63 BILLION when selling to Yahoo he knows that this is a mere pinch in comparison to what Googles achievements now equate to.

So, what made Google stand out from the crowd in the early days? It’s simplicity? The fact that it never sold out to the DoubleClick approach and displayed banners all over the results pages? OR was it just down to the fact that its results just worked?

Considering the company never spent a dime on advertising in its early years I think it is fair to say that the engine came to fame just simply because it worked! This was REAL viral growth, it created a buzz in the world of search. It earned ‘free’ PR in places like Time Magazine; the article read Gaga over Google and explained how prolific this new engine was and how it was growing by people recommending it to their friends…

They had a powerful card up their sleeve; their algorithm got around the spam problems that engines like AltaVista were now being hit with. They had the ‘Page Rank’! When considering the strength of the ‘back rub’ (an application Larry created to determine who was linking to his site) being implemented into their Google search algorithm  they stumbled upon the new Page Rank (seeing who was linking back to a site, then analysing the importance of those sites by also considering the links they had back to their site (in the most simplistic explanation!)), a contribution to the Google algorithm that set them apart from a market that seemed to be already established.

The Page Rank was named after Larry Page (a founder of Google) and it doesn’t relate to web page as people often initially think.

So, I think it is fair to say that the Page Rank is one of Googles most important assets? Well, think of this. Imagine that Google was only using this patented technology on a licence basis… This is fact! Ok it is a licence granted exclusively to Google  by Stanford University (the Uni where the founders created and tested Google) but  this licence is renewable in 2011.

What will this mean? Could other companies start using this unique technology if Stanford decided to open up the licence in 2011? Is this possible?  Could they do this? If so, what could this mean to Google?

It is also believed that the page rank patent expires in 2017. Will page rank be a thing of the past by then? Will SEO companies be catching up with the latest 'new thing' in Googles algorithm by then anyway? What is the next big algorithm change going to be? Has page rank already had its day?

Is Google as safe as we think it is? Have they dominated the search market and made it theirs like Hoover did with the vacuum cleaner? Or is there a Dyson out there waiting for the right opportunity to make its own mark. Is 2011 something that Google needs to prepare for or is it something that isn’t even worth worrying about?

It would be great to hear your feedback on what you think this means for Google. Does the licence of Page Rank matter? Could Stanford Uni licence the Page Rank to other companies after 2011? Is this the real Google bomb? Let’s hope not :)

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