“New Google” or “Classic Google please”?

The Google search engine has changed.  Does it serve the same purpose? Does it serve the same stakeholders as the world thought it did?

Google is no longer the tool that told you where to find the history of snow plows but the top of the list are sites where you can buy them. It doesn’t compare prices but it does favour paid adverts and commercial sites. I don’t know if that was intentional (it will help Google as a business get paid more) or an interpretation of “most people now use the internet to shop” that the press would have us believe.

If you were looking for car insurance, google used to be the fee-only broker who showed you the options it could find. New Google is the agent on commission who will show you the products they get most commission from first.

Who did Google think were its stakeholders? The priority does not seem to have been given to the search engine users but to sellers who will pay to attract buyers.

Is this big change a “future shock” (too much change too fast) which is distressing users for a short time or is Google showing where its loyalty really lies. Either way, a reasonable business decision has been made somewhere. This may cause a stir in the SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) world for a while and upset users who see Google as a quick way to find comparable pages in Wikipedia and similar information sites.

As project managers, it helps to think about how different stakeholder views of the purpose of our project can skew our products and outcomes. If we link stakeholder needs to our Critical Success Factors (as we should) the products of our project may change depending on how we weight the different stakeholder views. Google would look very different today if it had not perceived commerce as the main purpose for users going to its site.

Remember CocaCola’s big launch of “New Coke” for the tastes of a new younger stakeholder group expecting that the old version would disappear. That company had to relaunch “Classic Coke” to hold its market share. Will Google be faced with a similar dilemma?

More importantly, as project managers, are we sure that the views of stakeholders considered less important to our project will not derail our product launches with outcries like Google is starting to face from SEO experts?

About 3triangles
Helping organisations make change happen in 3 key areas: strategic change, deliver tactical impacts, efficient and effective processes. All blog content (c) 2009 - 2012 Carol Long and Three Triangles Performance Ltd

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