Originally written October 1, 2004. As we know now, the Google Web Browser became Google Chrome.
According to the New York Post, “based on the half-dozen hires in recent weeks, Google appears to be planning to launch its own Web browser and other software products to challenge Microsoft.” It’s a good, logical step for Google to develop a web browser. Based on the popularity of their Google Toolbar (toolbar.google.com), undoubtedly a web browser would be popular, as well.
From a search perspective, it would make it a lot easier to search the web using the Google search services, and it would be helpful if Google were to include features such as their popup blocker. And sure, it would be popular (did I mention that?).
The only potential issue I have with all of this is the invasion of privacy. I have done research myself and have seen the results of extensive research by some of my most trusted colleagues in the Search Engine Marketing industry–which disturbs me. The Google Toolbar is a little too invasive–a lot of information is passed from the Google Toolbar to Google themselves. Since this information is encrypted, you and I are not privy to the types of data that Google collects. However, I believe that they’re collecting more data that we realize.
What does this have to do with the Search Engine Marketing industry? The collection of data, especially from what Google can easily identify as “search optimizers”, could potentially hinder the search optimizer’s livelihood.
By performing a few typical search engine optimizer-type searches like the backlink command (i.e., link:www.domain.com), Google can identify that you’re a search engine optimizer. And a search optimizer were to perform these types of searches on a regular basis, Google can easily identify which websites you own. And they can establish whether or not you own more than one website, as well as the keyword phrases you’re targeting.
This identification of search engine optimizers can make Google’s job of identify spammy “networks of websites”. If a search engine optimizer owns more than one website and links them together, Google can easily discount these links or even penalize for them. And if the search engine optimizer adds Google AdSense code to pages, it’s even easier for Google to identify a network of websites.
Google, in their original SEC Statement before they went public (ticker symbol GOOG), identified spammers as their biggest competition. And it would only be logical if Google were to use all the data they have available to them to identify spammers and search engine optimizers–potentially their worst enemies.