Google: an algorithm trying to be a brand

As I’ve noted previously (latest here) Google in many respects is an algorithm trying (and often failing) to be a brand. It “gets” information, but it doesn’t “get” humans. Google Buzz is the latest example of the latter.

In Why Google Buzz isn’t buzz-worthy Mike Egan of Datamation details key shortcomings that stand between the algorithmic Google and Google as a “psychological space” (i.e., brand) that customers can trust.

If Google can’t rise to the level of a trusted brand, where it teams with customers instead of relentlessly mining them for data, its ability to compete with brands such as Apple will be diminished.


Feb. 11 In response to widespread privacy concerns over the Buzz implementation process, Google as tweaked and clarified the process. See here.

For additional context, see The negative buzz around Google’s new social network in the New York Times.


3 Responses to “Google: an algorithm trying to be a brand”

  1. Richard Dudley Says:

    You’ve got this arse about face here Brian. If an example of a ‘real brand’ is Apple then a ‘real brand’ is not so much about co-creation with customers after all. That’s because the following words (directed at Google) are from Steve Jobs himself: “Make no mistake: They want to kill the iPhone”.

    Only a thinker who doesn’t put customers first could entertain such notions as seriously considering that a ‘competitor’ could ‘kill’ a product. Sorry Steve, I really hate to break this to you, but its customers that kill products, not ‘competitors’. Its only your customers Steve that can kill your products, not Google. Duh!

  2. Brian Phipps Says:

    If Google continues to struggle with fundamental brand trust issues, as in the current Google Buzz fiasco, Apple’s path becomes all that easier.

    Let’s not forget that the SJ quote was from an internal Apple “town hall” meeting with employees, where Jobs answered employee questions. Perhaps Jobs was trying to focus employees on the competitive challenge from Google. He’s been a successful motivator in such circumstances, circling the wagons and rallying the troops, dating back to the first Mac in the 1980’s.

  3. Richard Dudley Says:

    “Perhaps Jobs was trying to focus employees on the competitive challenge from Google.”

    If he does indeed see it this way, then he’s going to be a loser. Only someone who completely fails to follow what Google says and does could believe that the Nexus One is a ‘competitive challenge’ to Apple. Compared to the iPhone, its pants. So obviously that’s not what Google is doing. Its also contrary to what Google says its doing – which is breaking up the stranglehold of the wireless carriers. Apple is not doing it – Steve hasn’t changed the game there, he’s played along with the incumbents, albeit from a position with considerably more clout than say Nokia. He’s still playing the game though, Google aims to change that game.