Google – Love Them Or Hate Them?

It’s fashionable nowadays to rant against Google. Bashing Microsoft used to be the in thing, but it’s passé now; all the cool kids are Google-hating.

I’m going to be the uncool kid in the corner saying, “hold on a minute.”

I’ll admit it, Google sets itself up for the abuse. As the Internet leader (for now, anyway), the company is up there on a pedestal for people to take shots at. It dabbles in so many fields that it’s not surprising people feel threatened. As Economist.com says:

Google evokes ambivalent feelings. Some users now keep their photos, blogs, videos, calendars, e-mail, news feeds, maps, contacts, social networks, documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and credit-card information—in short, much of their lives—on Google’s computers. And Google has plans to add medical records, location-aware services and much else. It may even buy radio spectrum in America so that it can offer all these services over wireless-internet connections.

The Economist published another article (on the same day – wonder what Google did to upset them that day?!) entitled “Who’s Afraid of Google?” Apparently, a lot of people are.

Here’s the thing: Google got where it is for a reason.

I remember a few years ago when a colleague recommended this cool little search engine that was way faster than the rest. That’s why I first discovered Google – their product was faster and more useful than anyone else’s.

Google seems to have embodied this idea in everything it’s done since that point.

For me, customer focus is the most obvious difference between Google and Microsoft.

No-one forces people to use Google. There are a tonne of other search engines out there. There are plenty of online mapping programs. The same goes for email.

Microsoft is a different animal. Their software is ubiquitous – it’s on pretty much every computer you see.

What sets Google apart? They figure out what people want and they provide it. People come to them, not the other way around.

For example: Gmail is a hit because Google realized that people want plenty of storage space and they want to be able to send big attachments.

Who’s afraid of Google? Companies that forget their customers. That’s who.

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