Does Google Deserve More Credit?

Sometimes I think Google deserves more credit.

This is not a defense of Google+, anti-trust issues facing the company, or the apparent sunsetting of Feedburner. Rather, more admiration for the company’s overall approach and success online in recent years.

When I learned Google had scrapped its facial recognition technology because the negative uses outweighed the good, I felt they were the better player of the big companies operating in this space. It’s not an isolated incident.

Google changed its privacy earlier this year, uniting its many disparate policies across different products into one holistic company-wide statement. The company waged an extensive public relations and advertising effort to explain the new policy to the general public.

When was the last time Facebook did that? Never, to my knowledge. You just log in and find everything switched without any communication whatsoever.

For that matter, Facebook needed European regulators to force it to end facial recognition use.

Then there’s the success of Android, the only smartphone operating system to surpass Apple’s iOS in sales during the past few years.

Also consider the company’s efforts for good, from crisis maps like the current one being used for Sandy, to the company’s extensive nonprofit efforts.

Finally, the company’s new Penguin update for search has gone a long way to eliminate content farms successfully getting indexed in top results.

Future products look exciting, too. For example the Glass Project promises to make augmented reality via mobile phone connectivity a reality.


Google+ app icon
Image by Clementcng

Yet if you ask social media experts they simply bag Google for +.

It’s true, Google+ is not Facebook. But I will say this: Google+ applications are significantly better than the nightmare Facebook offers. And it has become a must for content marketers.

Google+ also represents one of the most incredible integration projects ever, uniting many different web properties under one backbone.

Yes, Google+ deserves much of the criticism it has received.

If you ask me, though, Google deserves much more credit for everything it does online, especially compared to its competitors like Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and Apple (umm, maps?).

Do you think Google deserves more credit?


  • Completely agree – and I know we will continue this discussion tomorrow.

  • Fair comment, Mr. L. And I have to say that I’m glad I went Android rather than iOS for my phone. I like it lots. I think Google suffers a bit for two reasons. First, its efforts are both more diverse than Apple’s. I think people think of Apple as an integrated “thingmaker” rather than a company with hardware and software. Second, Google’s become so much a part of what we all do that it’s like the oxygen in our atmosphere, without the immediate recognition of a device on our desk or in our hand that reminds us “APPLE!” I don’t think of my Android phone as a “google phone” – it’s an Android. I don’t think of my “Gmail” account – it’s my EMAIL account.

    • It’s funny. I like Apple better, but have both. But I am much more loyal to Google as a brand than Apple, and it’s because of their usefulness, and general helpfulness as you noted. Conversely, the Apple branding is too much for me. I badge all of my Apple devices so I don’t advertise for them. Thanks for a great comment, Bob.

  • I’m not sure I would have agreed, before I read your post, but once I did, I do. I’ve not considered their entire approach and now that you’ve laid it all out, I agree, they seem to still believe in the mantra “do no evil”, which is what drew me to them in the first place.

    • Yeah, they have their bad, that’s for sure. But it’s the whole body of work that makes me think this. Thanks for coming by and adding your perspective, Brian.

  • Definitely agree with you. Google has done a great job at a few things and a pretty gosh darned good job at a lot of them.

    Most of us focus on their products versus their policies. Their approach has led to many individual failures (launching everything in beta) but overall I think it has kept them relatively nimble, quite an accomplishment for a company the size of Google.

    Nice post and, I believe, credit where it is still deserved.

    • LOL, and they do fail fast. They aren’t afraid to pull the plug on Buzz and other technologies that just don’t work. Even with Plus, it’s their third or fourth attempt at social networking. They keep coming.

      They have their share of missteps, too, but, yeah, their culture has kept them in the game. Thanks for the great comment.

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  • I actually hope people keep hating on Google+ until it’s too late. There’s an opportunity to build a completely different audience there, rather than duplicate the same audience on a different platform, which is what people are used to doing.

    And I love what they’re doing with Google TV. Even if it doesn’t take off, it’s building the road to the future (at least partial) merge of the web and television. The opportunity Google has given developers to Directly influence that…. I’ve already said too much.

    But let people hate on Google, Google+, etc. More for us. ;-)

    • I do think it’s a function of leadership, that the higher you go, you have more people aiming arrows at your back. In addition, Google has failed to humanize itself, a la our friend Maddie. So these two things do work against them. Still, I think they are a great company!

  • Google is doing too much things at once, and effectively became new Microsoft. This is becoming one giant monopoly, where they are offering everything under the guise of free, in return dramatically boosting their core product, and killing the competition with their products, in return stifling innovation.

    Same as Apple is about to do, when they introduce numerous upcoming software products.

    I foresee stronger digital anti trust laws, and I am looking forward to increased competitiveness.

    Just see how many browsers gained life, after Microsoft was forced to make IE optional, rather than mandatory browser. Imagine life without Chrome, Mozilla or Safari.

    • Interesting, because now Google has the dominant browser share with Chrome. We’ll see how the issue evolves, but perhaps you are right, and they are too big for their britches. I certainly do appreciate this counter view.

      • I would like that we have only “third party” developers of browsers, like Mozilla. Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer should be forbidden, for the anti trust reasons.

        That would emerge awesome new startups, and empower browsers like Rockmelt, to be more present in the market.

        Than again Google gave a lot to the browser community, by releasing Chromium project as open source. Which is the basis for a lot of other customized Chrome like browsers.

  • If we’re talking Google vs Facebook, then I agree…Google deserves a lot more credit :).

    I am definitely a big critic of both. But that just means they have my attention – which means they are doing something right (obviously).

    And criticize them as I may, I love the tools they create. I use Chrome, I use Analytics, etc.

    Can’t say the same about Facebook.

  • I don’t see how anyone can not give Google credit. Sometimes it’s like they’re the only adult in the room. And yes, they deserve all the credit they get, and more.

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    […] Does Google deserve more credit – I read this post from Geoff Livingston a few times. While I admit that I like to rail on Google for Plus, I must admit that I love the company and the products they put out. They also followed their do no evil mantra with facial recognition and understand how to work with businesses as opposed to those other guys. […]

  • Comparing Google to Facebook is easy, but what about other social sites like Reddit or even Wikipedia that actually do fight for the little guys without destroying small business. Google gets hacked, not because they do not respect the consumers, but because they have a dangerous attitude towards small business owners that is only getting worse.

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