It was in early 1998, and I was sitting in my office at Ogilvy & Mather in New York. I hit the page, expecting something Yahoo!-ish, and sat there staring at a word and a box on a white page for maybe five seconds, marveling at the boldness of it. This was not white space for design’s sake. Oh no. This was a statement of confidence.
“You want the stuff? Yea, we got the stuff. Take your best shot, boy.”
I typed in “Sinatra,” and there, painted before me within milliseconds, was a list of sites related the Chairman of the Board. Even more amazing, the best ones seemed to be towards the top. I clicked around, suppressed a yelp, then returned almost in disbelief. I tried “Star Trek,” then “Ogilvy,” and finally “Troiano,” each time uncovering the fruitful bounty of the Web, each time amazed – literally, amazed – by a technology that seemed able to look inside my head, inside my soul, almost, and give me what I wanted.
The memory is still vivid for me, as is a certain nostalgia for the early days of the net, when we were all just tooling around on our Netscape browsers and Panix e-mail addresses, trying to figure it all out and explain what we’d learned to the dinosaurs who still cared about TV.
All of which is why it pains me to face the truth of 2008, which is that Google sucks. And I’m not talking about the company, or the business here. To be honest I think the accusations of evil-doing at The Goog are 1 part factual and 4 parts envy, and as for Google’s actual business, well, to quote a great film of an even earlier age, “We’re not worthy.”
No, I’m talking about google.com. About Search. About the very foundation of what is expected to be a $10 Billion industry next year, about what may be the most powerful franchise on the planet.
Why doth Google suck? Let me count the ways…(cont’d)