In 2011, 96% of Google’s revenue was derived from its advertising programs. For the 2006 fiscal year, the company reported $10.492 billion in total advertising revenues and only $112 million in licensing and other revenues. Google has implemented various innovations in the online advertising market that helped make it one of the biggest brokers in the market. Using technology from the company DoubleClick, Google can determine user interests and target advertisements so they are relevant to their context and the user that is viewing them. Google Analytics allows website owners to track where and how people use their website, for example by examining click rates for all the links on a page. Google advertisements can be placed on third-party websites in a two-part program. Google’s AdWords allows advertisers to display their advertisements in the Google content network, through either a cost-per-click or cost-per-view scheme. The sister service, Google AdSense, allows website owners to display these advertisements on their website, and earn money every time ads are clicked.
One of the disadvantages and criticisms of this program is Google’s inability to combat click fraud, when a person or automated script “clicks” on advertisements without being interested in the product, which causes that advertiser to pay money to Google unduly. Industry reports in 2006 claim that approximately 14 to 20 percent of clicks were in fact fraudulent or invalid. Furthermore, there has been controversy over Google’s “search within a search”, where a secondary search box enables the user to find what they are looking for within a particular website. It was soon reported that when performing a search within a search for a specific company, advertisements from competing and rival companies often showed up along with those results, drawing users away from the site they were originally searching.
Another complaint against Google’s advertising is its censorship of advertisers, though many cases concern compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. For example, in February 2003, Google stopped showing the advertisements of Oceana, a non-profit organization protesting a major cruise ship’s sewage treatment practices. Google cited its editorial policy at the time, stating “Google does not accept advertising if the ad or site advocates against other individuals, groups, or organizations.” The policy was later changed. In June 2008, Google reached an advertising agreement with Yahoo!, which would have allowed Yahoo! to feature Google advertisements on its web pages. The alliance between the two companies was never completely realized due to antitrust concerns by the U.S. Department of Justice. As a result, Google pulled out of the deal in November 2008.
In an attempt to advertise its own products, Google launched a website called Demo Slam, developed to demonstrate technology demos of Google Products. Each week, two teams compete at putting Google’s technology into new contexts. Search Engine Journal said Demo Slam is “a place where creative and tech-savvy people can create videos to help the rest of the world understand all the newest and greatest technology out there.” Search engine
Main article: Google Search
On February 14, 2012, Google updated its homepage with a minor twist. There are no red lines above the options in the black bar, and there is a tab space before the “+You”. The sign-in button has also changed, it is no longer in the black bar, instead under it as a button.
Google Search, a web search engine, is the company’s most popular service. According to market research published by comScore in November 2009, Google is the dominant search engine in the United States market, with a market share of 65.6%. Google indexes billions of web pages, so that users can search for the information they desire, through the use of keywords and operators.
Despite its popularity, it has received criticism from a number of organizations. In 2003, The New York Times complained about Google’s indexing, claiming that Google’s caching of content on its site infringed its copyright for the content. In this case, the United States District Court of Nevada ruled in favor of Google in Field v. Google and Parker v. Google. Furthermore, the publication 2600: The Hacker Quarterly has compiled a list of words that the web giant’s new instant search feature will not search. Google Watch has also criticized Google’s PageRank algorithms, saying that they discriminate against new websites and favor established sites, and has made allegations about connections between Google and the NSA and the CIA.
Despite criticism, the basic search engine has spread to specific services as well, including an image search engine, the Google News search site, Google Maps, and more. In early 2006, the company launched Google Video, which allowed users to upload, search, and watch videos from the Internet. In 2009, however, uploads to Google Video were discontinued so that Google could focus more on the search aspect of the service. The company even developed Google Desktop, a desktop search application used to search for files local to one’s computer (discontinued in 2011). Google’s most recent development in search is its partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to create Google Patents, which enables free access to information about patents and trademarks.
One of the more controversial search services Google hosts is Google Books. The company began scanning books and uploading limited previews, and full books where allowed, into its new book search engine. The Authors Guild, a group that represents 8,000 U.S. authors, filed a class action suit in a New York City federal court against Google in 2005 over this new service. Google replied that it is in compliance with all existing and historical applications of copyright laws regarding books. Google eventually reached a revised settlement in 2009 to limit its scans to books from the U.S., the UK, Australia and Canada. Furthermore, the Paris Civil Court ruled against Google in late 2009, asking it to remove the works of La Martinière (Éditions du Seuil) from its database. In competition with Amazon.com, Google plans to sell digital versions of new books.
On July 21, 2010, in response to newcomer Bing, Google updated its image search to display a streaming sequence of thumbnails that enlarge when pointed at. Though web searches still appear in a batch per page format, on July 23, 2010, dictionary definitions for certain English words began appearing above the linked results for web searches. Google’s algorithm was changed in March 2011, giving more weight to high-quality content possibly by the use of n-grams to remove spun content.
In addition to its standard web search services, Google has released over the years a number of online productivity tools. Gmail, a free webmail service provided by Google, was launched as an invitation-only beta program on April 1, 2004, and became available to the general public on February 7, 2007. The service was upgraded from beta status on July 7, 2009, at which time it had 146 million users monthly. The service would be the first online email service with one gigabyte of storage, and the first to keep emails from the same conversation together in one thread, similar to an Internet forum. The service currently offers over 7600 MB of free storage with additional storage ranging from 20 GB to 16 TB available for US$0.25 per 1 GB per year.
Furthermore, software developers know Gmail for its pioneering use of AJAX, a programming technique that allows web pages to be interactive without refreshing the browser. One criticism of Gmail has been the potential for data disclosure, a risk associated with many online web applications. Steve Ballmer (Microsoft’s CEO), Liz Figueroa, Mark Rasch, and the editors of Google Watch believe the processing of email message content goes beyond proper use, but Google claims that mail sent to or from Gmail is never read by a human being beyond the account holder, and is only used to improve relevance of advertisements.
Google Docs, another part of Google’s productivity suite, allows users to create, edit, and collaborate on documents in an online environment, not dissimilar to Microsoft Word. The service was originally called Writely, but was obtained by Google on March 9, 2006, where it was released as an invitation-only preview. On June 6 after the acquisition, Google created an experimental spreadsheet editing program, which would be combined with Google Docs on October 10. A program to edit presentations would complete the set on September 17, 2007, before all three services were taken out of beta along with Gmail, Google Calendar and all products from the Google Apps Suite on July 7, 2009. Enterprise products
Google’s search appliance
Google’s search appliance at the 2008 RSA Conference
Google entered the enterprise market in February 2002 with the launch of its Google Search Appliance, targeted toward providing search technology for larger organizations. Google launched the Mini three years later, which was targeted at smaller organizations. Late in 2006, Google began to sell Custom Search Business Edition, providing customers with an advertising-free window into Google.com’s index. The service was renamed Google Site Search in 2008.
Google Apps is another primary Google enterprise service offering. The service allows organizations to bring Google’s web application offerings, such as Gmail and Google Docs, into its own domain. The service is available in several editions: a basic free edition (formerly known as Google Apps Standard edition), Google Apps for Business, Google Apps for Education, and Google Apps for Government. Special editions include extras such as more disk space, API access, a service level agreement (SLA), premium support, and additional apps. In the same year Google Apps was launched, Google acquired Postini and proceeded to integrate the company’s security technologies into Google Apps under the name Google Postini Services.
Additional Google enterprise offerings include geospatial solutions (e.g., Google Earth and Google Maps); security and archival solutions (e.g., Postini); and Chromebooks for business and education (i.e., personal computing run on browser-centric operating systems).