What is Google

Written by   (author of Obvious Conclusions)  |  Date Updated: February 13, 2020

What is GoogleMany people want to know, “What is Google?”

Do you find it ironic that people probably search Google looking for the term What is Google? I do.

But that is just me.  I enjoy irony.

If we are looking for a stodgy definition of Google, we could always turn to WikiPedia who states that:

Google Inc. is a multinational public cloud computing and Internet search technologies corporation.

How boring!

And Google is not boring; it’s cool!  How cool is it that you probably searched for What is Google? using Google and did not even know it?

Talk about operating under the radar…this is like people searching for “what is a bed?” without realizing that they sleep in one every night.

It’s always these companies that we use without realizing that we are using them that make a whole lot of money. They are like a credit card in a way, making a few cents off billions of people everyday…which begs the question that many people want answered…

How Does Google Make Money?

Having the top spot among the top ten search engines, a lot of you want to know how Google makes money.

This is the thing about Google that frightens me. It frightens me because Google makes so many cool programs that make no money (can you say Google Earth?) which I do not want to see go away.

Why could this happen?

The fact is Google still makes the bulk of their money from a program called AdWords, which is Google’s version of Internet advertising.

For example, if I searched for the term health insurance quotes on Google, many of the results that I will see will be people who paid to have their website appear. These are people who paid Google, using their Adwords program, to have their website prominently displayed. These Internet advertisements run along the top and right side of the screen with subtle text that says “Sponsored Links.”

Try it…you’ll see what I am talking about.

Why is it risky that Google still makes the bulk of their money from this type of Internet Advertising?

Never fear…I will tell you. The answer lies in what many people call Internet Ad Blindness.

What is Google Ad Blindness

The best way to describe this is with the case of my mom and my sister. I was watching them search the Internet one day as they were looking for some beauty products.

First, my mom was on the computer. She searched Google for “best beauty products” and then clicked on the entries that were most highlighted. Each of these was a “sponsored link” so my mom made Google money.

Then, my sister searched. She’s younger and knows what are natural search engine results–ones that are not Google ads–and clicked all of these.

As the term goes, my sister is Ad Blind. She is aware of what are ads and what are not ads and she does not click on the ads.

Why is this dangerous for Google? What can my mom and my sister tell us about the future of this huge company?

Well, as the old people–the ones who are not ad blind–fade off into this good night, Google will be left with a population that is Ad Blind–people who do not click on the Google Ads.

And with that, the Empire crumbles.

What is Google: Past, Present, and Future

Google was founded in 1998 by two Stanford students with the goal of providing better, more applicable, search results than any other company.

These two students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, came up with what was to be known as the Google algorithm. The Google algorithm is the mathematical formula that is at the heart of the Google search. It’s heavily guarded, like the secret KFC formula!

Millions of people involved in SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, have long sought to discover the secrets of the algorithm. You see, these people want to know the formula so that their websites can appear at the top of the search engine results without having to pay for it. Because, when you are on the first page of the Google search results, you can make money with Google Adsense or however you choose to monetize your site  In fact,  you can make a lot of money!

However, Google guards their secret like Fort Knox and makes changes on occasion. It’s like a cat and mouse game. SEO people try to figure out the formula and, just when they’re close, Google changes it and the game continues.

So, Google became famous because they provided better search results than the other companies. At the time, companies such as Excite, AltaVista, and Ask were the companies that people used to search the Internet.

Google has destroyed them all. They either no longer exist or they are an afterthought. The only one that is still hanging on is Yahoo, but they do not have near the power of Google.

But, just as Google has destroyed these other companies, can they themselves be destroyed?

We have all heard the old cliche that reads something like this: If the foundation of a building becomes unstable, the whole building might come falling down.

The foundation of Google is their AdWords program, their Internet Advertising. If my mom and my sister are an indication, this foundation is a little bit shaky.

Many people ask: what is Google’s stock price. The reason that they ask this is because Google’s stock price has continuously soared. With this enviably high stock price, Google has the power to do two things: Create new technologies and buy the best technology that other people are creating.

You have all used YouTube and probably love it as I do. It is an absolutely cool technology that Google did not own. So, they bought it…for $1.6 billion dollars…in stock.

Does YouTube make money? The majority consensus remains that YouTube.com still loses money.


Other than YouTube.com, Google has many other amazing products: Google Earth, GMail, Google Maps, and many more amazing products.

However, we are left with a couple of glaring realities. Few of these amazing tools from Google make any money. All of them are funded by their high stock price. Their high stock price is such because of the money that their advertising programs bring in. Their advertising program is the foundation.

And if my mom and my sister are any indication, the foundation may be in trouble.

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Richard Cummings

Richard Cummings is a writer, traveler, and web content developer.

Get your copy of his latest book entitled Obvious Conclusions, stories of a Midwestern emigrant influenced and corrupted by many years living in San Francisco and abroad. It just received its first outstanding review "...reminiscent of David Sedaris or Augusten Burroughs" on Amazon UK.
Richard Cummings
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