28 June, 2006
Google has established itself as the most dominant search engine in the world and has taken many internet-related services under its wings.
I can be quite confident that any one of you reading this article are not only familiar with Google but have used it on several occassions. In fact, how many of you have said, "Why don't you Google™ it?" when you're suggesting a search on the internet to someone? Google is one of the most used websites on the internet with half of all internet searches this year in May (The Economist, 13 May 2006; includes AOL) being through Google. Yahoo trails behind with under 30%, Microsoft's MSN at around 12% and finally Ask at 8% or so. This is why, according to the Economist, you say, "Google it" instead of, "Yahoo it" (though I don't think the latter phrase would've been very practical to use).
The exceptionally simple Google search page, especially so when compared to the layout and design of Yahoo and MSN, is only part of what makes Google so popular. Gmail, perhaps one of my favourite Google service, was hugely successful when it was first launched in 2004.
Even though two years has passed since, it is still in "Beta" (the preview stage, if you like) and accounts are opened by invitations mostly. This is apparently to ensure that spammers don't create endless amounts of account as has been done with Hotmail.
Gmail is completely free, allows 2.7GB (and counting) and has an advanced interface that allows a rich user experience. I've stopped using Yahoo, Hotmail, Excite & other webmail-providers in favour of Gmail. Many seemed to be doing something similar as Yahoo fought back with an immediate increase from 4MB to 100MB and finally to 1GB in April 2005. Hotmail, notably, upgraded to the new Windows Live Mail which allows 2GB (quite an increase from 2MB not too long ago). I must say, Live really is quite good but I'm staying with Gmail for the time being as I've got about 800MB worth of emails and files.
Google also has other services including Google Calender:
where you can store all your events online and synchronise them with your Gmail contacts.
which offers draggable street maps, a route planner and business locator (city centers only) for Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the United States, and most western European nations, and satellite images for the whole world. Google also have free computer applications like Picasa:
that allows you to organize all of your digital photos (as well as videos) which is especially helpful when you have too much photos all over the place on your computer.
Google Desktop acts a bit like Picasa in that it searches the whole system and indexes but Picasa displays everything in an album format whilst Desktop allows you to search more efficiently.
Google Earth is a downloadable virtual globe program. It maps the entire earth by pasting images obtained from satellite imagery, aerial photography and GIS over a 3D globe. Really quite a neat little software but you can get bored of it pretty quickly.
The most important services provided by Google for a webmaster interested in marketing their website & earning revenue from it would be the following three As:
1. AdSense - This is where Google pays you for displaying ads on your website and any clicks as a result. It's very easy to use - you just paste the code on your website and they do the rest! It 'Senses' the content on your website and decides which ad to display.
2. AdWords - This is where you pay Google to display your ads on Google search pages and the Google publishing network.
3. Analytics - This tracks the statistics on your website with some very cool charts. The major draw back is that it's not live stats. I use this with StatCounter (one of the few sites to get a pagerank of 10)
These three sites can be incredibly useful to the webmaster when utilized properly. There are however thousands of sites trying to sell "get rich quick" programmes with techniques involving AdSense and/or AdWords so beware of these. The Zeitgeist and Google Trends, which provides information on popular Google searches, could be of interest to some webmasters.
General Google Links
1. Reporting Spam to Google - http://www.google.com/contact/spamreport.html
2. Use Google to search your website - http://www.google.com/services/free.html
3. Submit your website to Google - http://www.google.com/addurl.html
4. Monitor Keyword Phrases - http://google.com/webalerts (This is neat to check out however does not help that much)
5. Google's Guidelines for Webmasters - http://www.google.com/webmasters/guidelines.html (A must read new people)
6. Facts for Webmasters - http://www.google.com/webmasters/facts.html
7. Having Trouble? Contact Google Directly - http://www.google.com/ads/offices.html
8. Googles Top 3 asked Questions - http://www.google.com/contact/search.html
Get your products into Froogle - http://services.google.com/froogle/merchant_email