Google’s Humble Beginnings

Google Inc. is a search engine company founded in America by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1998.  The company, which believes that “work should be challenging and the challenge should be fun” provides a multitude of products and services for people and businesses globally.  The two founders met in 1995 at Stanford University where Page was shadowing Brin while considering whether to attend grad school at the California research institution.  Together, they built a search engine called Backrub that determined the importance of internet web pages.  Backrub eventually became Google, a word that reflects Brin and Page’s mission to “organize the world’s information and make it universally assessable and useful.”

Google Inc. was officially founded in 1998 after the company caught the attention of some Silicon Valley investors who gave Page and Brin $100,000 to start the company.  The company quickly expanded, and today Google’s headquarters are located in Mountain View, California, and there are more than 70 offices in more than 50 countries worldwide.  Over 60,000 employees are employed at this multi-billion-dollar company known for its high energy and fast-paced work environment.

Rated by Forbes as the world’s second most valuable brand, Google has a multitude of products and services, though their unmatched search engine remains the heart and soul of the company.  One of Google’s success secrets is that they are a collective entrepreneurship, meaning they “allow a diverse group of people to share the risks and the rewards associated with the discovery and exploitation of new business opportunities,” according to an article on Forbes.com written by Panos Mourdoukoutas.  In this mutually beneficial exchange, viewers get valuable sought-out information, advertisers are able to reach a wide audience, and Google’s search engine is heavily used.  This is why Google is the most popular search engine on the web—their business and marketing strategies are unique and unparalleled.

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Google in Hot Water After Offensive Ads Appear

Media companies make a lot of their money through allowing companies to advertise on their sites and to their users.  Recently, The Guardian and the BBC, among other British news outlets, pulled their ads from Google and YouTube because their ads were displayed alongside those that displayed offensive content.  The Guardian reported that its ads were displayed next to white nationalists and other controversial groups.

Google uses AdX to place their ads, an automated program that uses a variety of algorithms.  British media outlets say they have high expectations of Google, and that they need to be sure they are socially responsible, since they have such a large and diverse following.  Senior Google executive, Roman Harris, admitted that Google needs to improve upon its ad content and placement.

When companies let issues like this fall through the cracks, they risk their entire business.  At a time of racially-motivated social unrest, Google needs to do everything in its power to ensure their ad space contains no offensive or racist content.  After all, Google’s advertisers keep the site going, and without the ads, Google will surely lose its spot as a media and technology giant.

Google “Keeps It Simple” With Hangouts

Google Hangouts is a communications service that allows members to participate in text, voice or video chats, either one-on-one or in a group.  On March 9, Google released a new version of Hangouts that has introduced the service strictly as a business communication tool.  In the past, Google’s communication efforts in terms of chat have been unimpressive and have missed the mark with consumers, as they have launched many different communications apps to introduce new features, rather than build them into an already existing app.  The result was consumers complaining about too many complicated apps to keep track of, which has scared them away from using Google as a platform all together.

To address this concern, Google will be splitting Hangouts in half—Hangouts Meet (video) and Hangouts Chat, and they both will be used primarily as business tools to make group chats and video conferences more streamline.

Streamlining services and apps is very important to today’s consumer.  The simpler something is, the better.  The most successful businesses and products have a very simple and clean platform.  Take Apple for instance.  Their phone, website, and even stores present a very clean and simple design, in terms of color, functionality and compatibility.  There was a time when people wanted everything customized.  In the days of MySpace, users like myself loved to customize the page, adding color, music, fancy fonts and graphics to express creativity.  Now, if something has that many options, users shy away.  Think about streamline features the next time you use an app or product and consider how important these features are to you and, if given more customization options, whether you would still use the product or app.

Google Scans the Environment to Stay on Top

In the past, technology giant, Google, has fallen short in the device category.  Amazon seems to have fared a lot better; for example, Amazon’s e-reader, the Kindle has had huge success.  When Amazon released their smart speaker, the Echo, consumers everywhere flocked to purchase one. The Echo, on command, plays music, shops for you, and can even control your home.  Recently, Google has followed suit and released their own smart speaker called Google Home, which is about $50 cheaper than the original Amazon device.  After reading several articles comparing the two devices, I have come to the conclusion that, if I was in the market for a smart speaker, Google Home would be a better choice, due to better voice recognition technology and a wider range of internet search options—after all, Google is the best when it comes to search engine optimization.  Google Home has only been on the market for a few months, so time will have to be the determining factor in whether consumers prefer this device over the Echo.

In today’s fast-paced technological world, it is extremely important that companies scan the environment for consumer trends so they can be one of the first to carry the “next big thing”.  Google did just that with Google Home.  In desperate need of launching a popular device among consumers, Google hit the mark with the Echo in terms of price point and functionality.  Because Google is the leader in the area of search engines and already have several apps that can be applied to the Google Home platform, developing this device in response to the Echo was a no-brainer.  This is a great example of how technology companies and content creators can stay at the forefront of the market; by searching for and seizing opportunities in the marketplace.  Kudos to Google for their quick response to one of the new trends among consumers.

Move Over Lyft and Uber! Google Has a New Ride-Sharing App

Did you know that Google has a ride-sharing app?  After a successful trial run in Israel and San Francisco, Google has decided to expand service to the United States and Latin America.  “Waze”, which is the name of the app, is in the United States now as a navigation service that tells you of upcoming obstacles in your road trip, and now it will add ride-sharing to its roster.  Instead of the conventional request-a-ride model that Uber ad Lyft use, Waze aims to encourage drivers already headed somewhere to pick up riders along the way.  Ride costs are also considerably lower than that of Uber and Lyft, with a ride normally costing $11-$12 only costing Waze users $4.50, according to the Wall Street Journal.  Though Waze will not take a percentage of the ride fee from drivers, the pay is a lot less than that of Lyft and Uber.  The purpose is to discourage drivers from making Waze their only source of income.  It is also important to note that Waze may be taking up to a 15% cut of the drivers’ wages in the near future, should the app reach success in the U.S. and Latin America.

Google’s New Anti-Troll Initiative

Google has come up with a new initiative to fight internet trolls.  A troll is someone who posts harmful content on internet blogs, chat rooms, and other social media sites with the intention of provoking other users in a negative way.  Using a new artificial intelligence tool called “Perspective”, which was released on Thursday, internet users are able to feed online content into the site which can be rated by other users for its potential to cause harm to others.  The tool also scans the internet for harmful content, which can also be rated by users.  The site generates a “toxicity score” based on user feedback, which users can use to decide whether they want to participate in certain conversations and posts.  News and blog sites can use Perspective to monitor their comment section.  Lastly, users can feed certain words and phrases into Perspective to generate a score on how harmful that content is according to other users who rated the content.

Generation X Actually Spends More Time on Social Media than Millennials

This January, Nielsen, one of the largest research companies in the world, specializing in media research, released a report stating that Generation X (adults ages 35-49) spends, on average, 39 minutes more per week on social media sites when compared to Millennials (ages 18-34).  This report is surprising to many, as it is contrary to the stereotype that Millennials cannot part with their phones and spend too much time on the devices.

The information for the report was based on data gathered from both smartphone and tablet users, with Facebook being the most popular app.  This makes sense, since Facebook seems to be more widely used among Generation X, with Instagram and Snapchat being the top-pick for Millennials.

So the next time your parents or professors tell you that you spend too much time on social media, kindly remind them that their generation actually holds the number 1 spot for social media consumption, and you have the statistics to prove it!