David Carr reflects on ‘the evolving mission of Google’, in the NYT.
…What difference does it make what occupation Google writes down on its driver’s license?
For starters, being in the media business means looking at media a little differently. Google has been spending a lot of time and some significant money trying to help traditional media businesses stay in business, in part because Google does not want its search engines to crawl across a wasteland of machine-generated info-spam and amateur content with limited allure.
With that objective in mind, the company has also tweaked its vaunted search algorithm to point toward new, real, trusted content and away from link-bait generic content cranked out by so-called content farms. Even if it is a machine doing the executing, the company’s push for one kind of link over another is fundamentally an editorial exercise.
In essence, Google, which has cracked the code on the Web advertising model, has come to realize that if content becomes just a commodity, then advertising will follow suit. “Google depends on the high-quality content created by wonderful Web sites around the world, and we do have a responsibility to encourage a healthy Web ecosystem,” the company said, sounding more like the pronouncement of a media executive than a statement from a tech company.
Jonathan Glick, chief executive of Sulia, a media company that filters and publishes real-time content from Twitter, said that Google is in a new land.
“They are moving down a road where they are now thinking of the motivation of people who produce content in addition to the content itself,” he said.