I read an interesting report today from Harvard Business School‘s assistant professor Ben Edelman. Interesting in that he has completely overlooked the major usability improvements that Chrome and other browsers have brought to the Internet browsing experience. He claims, some of Google Chrome’s (and other things) features are designed to defraud users and increase revenues from it’s advertisers. His suggestions are outrageous and without proper thought or research. It’s very disappointing from a Harvard professor,I would have expected a lot more.
It’s quite clear from his report that this guy is a little wet around the ears when it comes to the Internet and how people interact and browse through any of the popular browsers.
Here’s just a small exert from his report:
To complete a direct navigation to the Expedia site, without passing through Google search results, a user must ignore Google’s suggestion and continue typing (“.com”), click the “expedia.com” entry (third on Google’s auto-complete list), or use the keyboard (down-down-enter) to navigate manually. In principle these steps are straightforward — just a few extra seconds. But by pushing default behavior from direct navigation to search, Google makes searches that much more frequent — yielding that many more ad-clicks, that much more revenue to Google, and that much more expense for advertisers.
Firstly Mr. Edelman, tell me this… How “the hell” else is the user going to go directly the expedia website without completing the full URL?
If they know the web address they are inputting why would they bother using the suggestions unless they are unsure as to the correct address? Also…. If a user has already been to this site – the top suggestion will be pulled directly from their web history. It’s ridiculous to suggest that Chrome is doing anything other than trying to improve your experience when using their browser.
Now, let’s look at his other point in this comment, “Google makes searches that much more frequent — yielding that many more ad-clicks, that much more revenue to Google, and that much more expense for advertisers” – how exactly?
By making it easier for us to search for something we are looking for?
He seems to be forgetting the fact that if we are typing a web address into the address bar of a browser, we most likely know the address of the website we want to visit, so we will most definitely ignore the suggestions provided by Google. Yes, we may get lazy if Google has suggested the correct URL and click it – but this will of course completely avoid going anywhere near Google and in turn there are no advertisement revenues to be gained by Google.
I don’t know, but lately everyone just wants to give out about Google. It’s like Microsoft all over gain – people hate them because of their success and do anything to tarnish their name, without having the full facts to back up their claims.
I would completely understand this report if it was about AOL Keywords, but judging by this report, Mr. Edelman has never heard of AOL Keywords.
For those of you that don’t remember AOL Keywords (obviously Mr. Edelman doesn’t) – it was a service provided by AOL where the big brand names could buy “keywords” from AOL for a premium. Users would type this into their AOL and instantly they would be directed to the website that purchased those keywords. As it grew in popularity browsers were being built that allowed you to do this directly from the address bar.
Edelman is clearing missing the point of this process and how it makes life much easier for those browsing the web, how it is used and when people actually click on one of the options provided by the suggestions. This is a clear case of someone overlooking things in order to suit their claim.
The report goes on to make more ridiculous claims – read it yourself and then ask yourself how this guy got into Harvard…. http://www.benedelman.org/news/051309-1.html