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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Inside Google Magazine...

Google needs a monthly magazine. Google needs a consumer-oriented voice that can do two things: tout the strengths of Google and Google products and services; and present a more balanced assessment of the various controversies that surround Google.

This year, Google has found itself buried in legal actions and news stories over several topics. While the corporate attorneys would prevent Google from speculating madly in print (and I'll adress what I mean by "magazine" in a moment) and thus poisoning their legal options, a Google Magazine or Inside Google would give alternative voices a fair platform in which to present their concerns. Not to argue their legal cases in front of the public, but to help explain what's stake if Google prevails in some way.

This is a bold step for a corporate entity, but it's a step that would help Google build trust around the world. And they badly need trust for their long-term financial success. Google is now large and ponderous in some ways. If they roll over they are almost certain to crush some little person who cannot run out of the way fast enough.

But while a monthly print magazine would be interesting, I think it would be better if Google distributed a .PDF or Flash magazine from The front page. And they should set a standard for the publishing world by publishing the November issue in November (I'm sick of buying next month's magazine this month -- that makes absolutely no sense and no one is fooled by it).

The reason why Google needs to set up an autonomous media production group is that their "official" Web sites are so loaded with propaganda that no one trusts them. In fact, even their employees' private Web sites are viewed with considerable distrust. I have no idea of why people say Matt Cutts cannot be trusted. He has never been caught in a lie but a lot of people in the SEO world say, "You cannot trust Matt Cutts". I mean, literally, they say that in the open on forums.

Who has Matt betrayed, and why doesn't that person come forward to warn the rest of us?

If you look at Google Book Search's Legal section, Google makes an amateurish attempt to bamboozle visitors into believing that everything is okay and authors and publishers are really not going to get hurt by the Library Project, etc.

Oh, and just to be fair, after you read all the testimonials about how great Google Library Project is, there are two bare links leading to specific statements from opposing groups. It's like doing a search for some product you think you have heard about, finding a page listed in the search engines that says it sells the product, and then you click on the link only to find an endlessly scrolling page loaded with fake testimonials from anonymous people. You have to scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll to get down to the, "And it just costs $49.99 to buy this cheap crap!" button.

Google, you can do better than that. You owe it to us, your using public, to do better than that.

The closest thing to a magazine right now is the collection of Google blogs, but they are not updated on a consistent basis. Google Book Search Blog is updated frequently, with loads of great content. I like this blog because it takes marketing seriously. Okay, I just criticized them for playing fast and loose with the facts on their legal page. But overall, the Book Search people seem to understand marketing better than all the other sections at Google.

Look at the "Useful links" they post in the margin. They index the official Google Book Search site for you, point right to interesting and useful content. How much better it would be if they pointed to this month's latest Inside Google Magazine articles.

I would look for this magazine every month. What's more, Google could sell advertising in it. What would you pay for each download, Mr. Business Operator, Ms. Business Founder? Would you want to put your smiling face in front of 10 million people a month. Of course you would. There's a medium for Google advertising waiting to be invented.

There are a lot of powerful things Google could do with a monthly multimedia magazine. I think the Internet is ready for it. In fact, if they don't do it, someone soon will. PodCasts and Google Video becoming passe. A downloadable magazine with embedded video content would be the utmost cool thing.

Until next year, when we would have to have Google television for cell phones.

Think about it Eric. I'm available if you want to talk....


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