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Google’s Magic and Challenges

What makes the California-based search engine so successful?

April 19, 2005

What makes the California-based search engine so successful?

Over the last five years, the world has witnessed the rise of Google from one search engine among many to the undisputed leader of the pack. Googling is now a global phenomenon. Our Read My Lips feature takes a look at Google's recent successes — and explores what lies on the horizon for the California-based company.

What's so special about Google?

“Google can do no wrong. It is Amazon, eBay, Reuters and Britannica — all in one.”

(Bret Swanson, executive editor of the Gilder Technology Report, November 2003)

How does Google rate as an Internet service?

“Google is so important to the web these days, it probably ought to be a public utility.”

(Daniel Brandt, self-appointed Google watchdog, October 2003)

Does the company only have admirers?

“I would boycott Google — if I could. But I can’t. It’s like boycotting gas.”

(Rogers Cadenhead, website developer and author, May 2004)

What is truly remarkable about Google's development?

“When is the last time a company went from zero to a verb in five years?”

(Roger McNamee, managing director of Silver Lake Partners, January 2004)

How do Google's founders explain it all?

“Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one.”

(Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, April 2004)

What formula does Google use to manage its resources?

“A 70/20/10 management model, in which 70% of resources are devoted to improving the core search engine, 20% are designated for products related to search — and 10% are earmarked for pure research.”

(Washington Post reporter David A. Vise, February 2005)

What might explain Google's rising stock price?

“They’ve created the first new and effective ad medium in 50 years. It’s brilliant.”

(Seth Godin, marketing consultant, December 2004)

How has that affected advertisers?

“It is a way for producers to banish the old marketing cliché: I know I’m wasting half my advertising budget — I just don’t know which half.”

(Washington Post columnist Sebastian Mallaby, April 2005)

What will determine the future of Google?

“Will Google become the ‘Microsoft of search?' Or are the dynamics of the marketplace fundamentally different — in a way that will allow for two or three — or more — profitable players?”

(Lee Gomes, Wall Street Journal columnist, August 2003)

And finally, what is Google's historic accomplishment?

“Google — the card catalog for the universal library of the Internet.”

(Thomas G. Donlan, editor of the editorial page of Barron’s, November 2003)