What Would Google Do?
By Jeff Jarvis
Published by HarperCollins, 2009
Jeff Jarvis is a journalist, editor, and a professor at City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism. He publishes a popular blog called Buzz Machine, about news and media trends. Readers may remember Jarvis as the blogger who made headlines a few years ago, when he publicly called out Dell Computers for its poor customer service.
In What Would Google Do? Jarvis has written about how Google (the world’s most popular search engine) has transformed the advertising industry and how it has affected other industries as well. The main premise of the book is an attempt to get companies (and industries) to understand the Google mindset, and to recognize the power of the individual in this age of open sourcing, mobile computing and social networking.
In a networked world, it’s all about the customer. More importantly, it’s about empowering customers to talk freely about your products and services. It’s about giving customers choices about where and how and what they buy. In my industry, advertising, Google has literally turned business models upside down, forcing newspapers, magazines and ad agencies to re-invent themselves.
With the advent of Google AdWords (a pay-per-click advertising model), advertisers now have the ability to target customers, based on viewing habits and website content. AdWords offers advertisers the option of paying for ads only when customers click on their links, a far more cost-effective (and profitable) advertising model than purchasing ads with traditional media.
In this new age of advertising, it’s no longer about sending messages en masse, crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. Now it’s all about targeting customers by age, demographics, interests, etc. “Advertisers are starting to mouth the right words – it’s about relationships, not messages,” writes Jarvis.
Jarvis doesn’t confine his observations to the advertising industry. He includes chapters on utilities, retail, manufacturing, automotive and financial services. He discusses how the Google mindset is changing those industries, by making companies more approachable, transparent and accountable.
Whatever business or enterprise you’re involved in, What Would Google Do? is an engaging read that will help you to better understand the power of the individual in today’s networked world. It may even inspire you to re-think current business practices and change the way you do business.
Although What Would Google Do? was published in 2009 (light years in the digital age), the themes discussed in this book are just as relevant today as they were four years ago.