Posted April 11, 2012 9:54 am by with 0 comments

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I read something this morning that surprised me a bit. Of course, reading something that surprises you is the impetus to tell someone about what surprises you so maybe this is just a time where I am taking the bait. Oh well.

AdAge has come out with their 2012 Spring Edition Pop Thermometer. It’s an interesting look at several areas including sports celebrations, creative director’s glasses, political props and more. AdAge then ranks which things are trending, trailing or tired. It’s fun to consider. The last category, however, really jumped out. It was “Search Engines” and the results were

Google tired? Certainly made me think a bit because on some levels it makes sense. As a way to see why Google may be viewed as tired there was this description of DuckDuckGo and why it’s trending.

Though it’s been around for a few years, DuckDuckGo’s uncluttered search results and focus on privacy has been a boon to traffic. For the first time, it recently broke the 1 million searches a day mark; and while that still pales in comparison to Google and Bing, and there’s a lot of work for DuckDuckGo to do yet in expanding its search capabilities. Its minimalistic interface has won fans among vocal Reddit users, and we expect more users will discover the engine in the near-term.

So why was Google seen as tired and falling behind even Bing in the search engine race? There are no reasons given in the chart but I can think of a few.

  • Google is getting old – Founded at Stanford in 1996 and incorporated in 1998 Google is REALLY old in Internet years. Now, just because it is an older company should by no means indicate it’s losing its edge and getting tired. Well, that’s if you are really thinking about it but most people don’t. People these days are enamored with the latest, newest, shiniest objects they can find and a company approaching 15 years old doesn’t fit that mold no matter what it does.
  • Google is trying too hard – There have more than a few cries that Google is trying to hard to be everything to everyone and in the process losing its edge. The constant “integration” of Google+ into everything the company does has agitated many. Once again, that’s not to say that they shouldn’t try to promote Google+ because they absolutely should. It’s how you go about it that leaves an impression and the current impression for many of Google’s push to be social is not one of innovation but rather of desperation.
  • Google as Public Enemy #1 – Being in the game this long and being as dominant as Google has been in the search game it only goes to follow that Google will go from trusted to target. It’s what people do when they are either jealous or are getting their clock cleaned (just look at as the poster child for this malady). The constant need to defend your positions vs. creating new ones on a regular basis, or more importantly, blazing completely new online trails, takes its toll. Google has to spend as much time watching its back as it does trying to shape the future. That takes a serious toll.
  • Google is arrogant – Anyone in Mountain View will likely bristle at this notion but it’s true. It’s hard not to get a big head when you have had the success Google has had. The problem is that it doesn’t wear well with people on the outside. Ask the folks at IBM what it used to be like at the top of the heap until the market turned its back on them. It’s been a long road back after a serious tumble. Google could suffer the same fate. Why not?

These are just a few of the reasons that Google may be appearing tired these days. Do you agree with this assessment? Are there other reasons for them looking tired as compared to the likes of DuckDuckGo and Bing? Or is all of this just noise to get some page views?

Let’s hear it.