Online Innovation October 10th, 2012
Can you believe it, as of the 27th of September Google has been around on the planet for 14 years. What makes it so strange is that many of us were still using Yahoo! during the tech giant’s earliest years, so for most of us it really doesn’t seem so long. That, and conversely the search engine has become such a huge part of everyday life that for many of us it’s difficult to even think of a time when Google didn’t exist.
But over the last 14 years Google has hardly been resting on its laurels, and while the basic appearance and function of search might look very much the same the company has iterated its main algorithm endlessly and dabbled in all kinds of other areas. And arguably it’s never pushed itself harder than it has over the past year, which has been undeniably huge for them. Here we will look at just a few of major headlines that Google has attracted in the last 365 days…
Google Plus could be the most news-worthy and exciting announcement from Google in recent times possibly, but though the launch itself was just over a year ago (June 2011 to be precise) much has happened since then. The release of Google Plus of course has resulted in all kinds of other related innovations such as Social Search and Google Authorship, and while Facebook currently has no need to worry the number of marketing tools it gives webmasters is certainly not to be ignored. More to the point this has been the first full year where Google Plus has been in the world, which makes this a big year for the company.
Google Penguin was this year’s big algorithm change (following others like ‘Panda’) that sought to remove ‘spam sites’ from the top of the SERPs once and for all. This they hoped to accomplish by penalizing sites with too many irrelevant links pointing at them as well as ones featuring the usual spun content and over-optimization. For a while, this left the top spots for many highly competitive search terms looking rather dubious while there was a lot of collateral damage for webmasters that hadn’t done anything wrong per say. Couple that with the increase in ‘negative SEO’ and accusations that Google were trying to drive webmasters to their AdWords service, and this was a controversial move even if it was well intentioned.
Penguin wasn’t the only big algorithm change we saw this year, and the search giant also used 2012 as an opportunity to de-index blog networks and start penalizing sites with too much AdSense. On top of this they also started to roll out ‘semantic search’ meaning that Google now second guesses what you mean a lot of the time (with mixed results).
Google hasn’t just been focusing on search and social networking this year though, they also decided that now was the right time to release their first piece of proprietary hardware – the Google Nexus 7. Created by Asus this 7’’ iPad alternative has so far been a critical and commercial success, so it will be interesting to see if Google decide follow this up with more branded devices in future.
And in other mobile news, other than releasing Jellybean, the big move was the rebranding of the Android Market as the ‘Google Play Store’ which attempted to emphasize the inclusion of films, books and music that aren’t dependent on users owning an Android device.
Was this Google’s biggest year yet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…