Here in Kansas City, Google is on the top of many minds. The city is excited over the roll out of Google Fiber, a faster and arguably less expensive pipeline connecting us to the world.
I like to take a measured approached to life, so to balance out the buzz surrounding Kansas City’s partnership with what was once only a search engine company, I would like to lay out a little critique of Google.
In 2006, Google acquired a small 2-year-old startup called YouTube for $1.65 billion, paid all in Google stock. Since then YouTube has become a rather larger part of how we share with one another online. You have probably seen ‘Charlie bit my finger’ or that frightening groundhog or the honey badger. Perhaps you have listened to a mesmerizing song called ‘Chocolate Rain.’ If you have, then you know what I mean when I say YouTube has been good to us.
However, I am going to go out on a limb and say YouTube is awful. Don’t get me wrong, the ability to pass along video clips to each other is wonderful. My problem with the service is that searching within the platform has become increasingly difficult. If I run a search in YouTube for a movie trailer or a music video, I do not want that search to return mash-ups, homages or spoofs. If I type in the phrase ‘official’ it should be clear I am looking for the original and official content.
It strikes me as odd parent company Google developed a search engine smart enough to know what I am searching for before I even finish typing in my search, while YouTube fails at searching each and every time. Google knows so much about me, my shopping habits and my interests that I am served semi-relevant ads on any device that I am on (as long as I am logged into Google). At the same time, YouTube doesn’t even know that I cannot read the language of some of the videos it serves to me.
Please, Google, it has been six years since you acquired this service. Get back to your roots. Get your optimizers to work on your database and provide YouTube users with the robust search engine that you grew your brand name on.
As with any company of its size, it’s important to ensure that corporate values and culture flourish throughout every business unit. Google is failing to do this right now. As a current user and future paying customer, I want outstanding service. I want a better search. After all, Google, isn’t search what you are good at?