Blog Post

Google Transformation from Just Search to Destination

Almost a year ago, writing for GigaOM, Robert Young posted a piece that billed Google as a media company and eventually more a destination in the classic media sense. Some statistics released by comScore at the Search Engine Strategies conference in New York support Young’s assertions.

Of some 1.2 billion search queries on Google during a one-week period in January 2008, universal results were presented about 17 percent of the time, according to research released by James Lamberti, comScore’s SVP, search and media. “The search result page is beginning to operate as a destination,” observed Lamberti. “The consumers are a priority. Not the marketers.”

Plus, Google sent nearly 400 million search referrals to their own multi-media properties, such as YouTube, over six months. That includes 148 million referrals to YouTube and 173 million to Google Images, the comScore data show.

John Battelle broke it down nicely when he wrote on his blog:

To pretend otherwise is to ignore the reality of YouTube, Google News, Google Maps, Google Local, the onebox interface, Knol, and everything else Google owns that represent the chance for them to make money the way every other media company in the world makes money – by competing for your attention and monetizing it with advertising.

What do you guys think about this search-to-destination transformation of Google?

15 Responses to “Google Transformation from Just Search to Destination”

  1. Whether Google is (or can be) a destination is a question of semantics. Regardless, it will be a moot point if Google continues on its current trajectory. I can only imagine that every new service it adds reduces its focus a little bit on its core search competency. The UX w.r.t. integration between the offerings is hardly seamless. Continue this way and the audience will leave just as quickly as it came.

  2. To follow up on my previous post Om, please take note of the poor poor implementation of this:

    in addition:

    Now, you may not think this is a big deal, but top it off with:

    and yet more

    You see, this is just a few reasons why googol is not a destination for me, in addition to numerous other issues.

  3. Nicholas Paredes

    I think that one of the issues with “intellectualizing” this stuff is that it helps you see the interconnections. I’m looking at ties with local search and blogging to create an application/site. I could say that the destination is Google, or that the destination is YouTube, but in my mind the destination is the glue binding the materials together.

    I see a lot of new material via blogs, generally either TypePad or Blogger, linked to YouTube videos, or news items (RSS/Atom, …). While nobody is really utilizing social bindings (Open Social and such) to a huge extent, I think that an analysis is really necessary. Currently, I’m reading Innovation and Entrepreneurship by Drucker, and the enlightening aspects are really about simplicity. Successful entrepreneurs analyze the market to a fault, make their innovations deliriously simple, and execute them at the most basic levels first.

    In the mobile space this is key. “Destination” has to be incredibly fast, and to the point to be usable. Few applications match this profile, and it requires a large level of refinement to create them. Der’s gold in dem dar connections!

  4. to be fair, my destination starts with my desktop. i go to googol to search…i use skype for im and other services. email, no way would i use gmail. creating documents, i use microsoft office… Branson tried once to unseat Coke with a product called virgin cola, he spent a billion dollars to try and unseat the leader. it is hard to beat a brand.

  5. Michael

    Come on Dave – it’s about the business model. If Google makes ad money only when you search, they are like a library on steroids. Their search site is a destination for a limited purpose. This make them a lot less than if they make ad money every time you want to do … anything.

  6. isn’t battelle kind of over-intellectualizing this a bit? i mean come on, if people go there and do more than search, then it’s a destination – but then again, if they go there to begin with then it’s a destination….sounds like a load of semantic interpretive crap dreamt up to produce blog entries that once discuss google in some new light or some new angle on their future.

  7. This transformation will continue as Google continues to tightly integrate their services in more intuitive ways (i.e. Gmail to Calendar, Calendar to Maps, etc.).

    However it also raises interesting questions about how open they intend to remain, both in terms of their suggestions during search as well as how easy it is for you to decide you want to take your data elsewhere and/or use it in different ways than they’ve intended/built.

  8. With so many tools that Google provides to the end user for free, it’s hard for them not to become this destination on the web. I personally use: Gmail, Google Reader, Google Docs, Google Groups, Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, and many other services provided through the Google Labs. The end result? If I’m online, there’s usually a tab on my browser with my Google profile open somewhere withing Google.