Google through the looking glass

My last post discussed changes in the search landscape but it seems Google is busy changing both the business landscape and the real landscape.

A couple of weeks ago we had SEORoundtable reporting on them producing some very strange results in their search engine – searches in Google for “Google Ireland” were producing Google New Zealand as the number one result. Other people soon chimed in with similar results in South Africa, and South America. All good fun and most of the examples I saw then have been sorted out by no-doubt embarrased Google engineers.

This morning I was reading a somewhat mind-boggling business analysis by Bill Gurley of their maps business and the effects it’s having on GPS companies in the US. If Bill’s right then the effects on mobile phone companies as well as GPS ones could be considerable. The sort of “Less Than Free” business model he describes, if expanded to netbooks and other places their operating system and maps technology could have application, could put them in a position to topple Microsoft from their software domination and put them in an impregnable position to serve adverts to just about everywhere.

But what are we to make of the third item which was highlighted by SearchEngineLand today? It appears that Google Maps has made up a fictitious town in England called Argleton - amusingly described by nearby resident Roy Bailey. Is this a “trap location”, a careless mistake by their mapping partners, or a wicked English attempt to usurp the position of Brigadoon as the world’s favourite disappearing village? ;-)

Still feeling confident about following those GPS directions? Think I’ll stick to good old Ordnance Survey!

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