Google Described as a Giant Transaction Machine

December 26, 2009

I find it more fun than watching snakes sun themselves to learn from media mavens what Google is. The former grand vizier of Business Week said in “Google & Media: Biting the Hand that Feeds You”:

Google has become this massive transaction machine, and as everyone knows, transactions are the antithesis of relationships. If a brand wants a relationship with its audience, Google is getting in the way. It’s how Google was able to siphon nearly $22 billion last year in advertising from traditional media. And it’s the most obvious proof that media brands have diminished in value. People are more routinely turning to Google to get information, rather than a brand known for its expertise in a given area.

Are Google’s advertisers abandoning traditional media because Google is siphoning them from magazines and newspapers? Nope. I think that Google is delivering what advertisers think they want or need. Google is not running an ad sales operation in the mode of the 1980-style magazine or newspaper. Google is sort of there and people have to do their own heavy lifting.

The metaphor of a “transaction machine” may contribute to a fundamental misunderstanding of what Google is. A transaction is one part of Google’s functionality. The big part is that the company is functioning as a trans-national computing platform that scales reasonably quickly and economically. Software allows a platform to perform a large number of functions. Seizing on one fails to characterize the whole of the Google operation. But a failure to perceive reality accurately is one of the contributing factors in the decline of traditional media. Just my opinion.

Stephen E. Arnold, December 26, 2009

No one paid me to point out that this source article misses some of the Google’s more obvious features. I think I have to report my freebie penchant to the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel. What do you think?


2 Responses to “Google Described as a Giant Transaction Machine”

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