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The Internet

Google Considers 'Speciality' Subscriptions 226

Posted by Hemos
from the get-your-information dept.
jdclucidly writes "C|Net is reporting that Google is considering moving to a subscription based service for educational and commercial entities. The new service will be a specialized spider in addition to their already popular web search." Lexis-Nexis, Google's coming for you.
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Google Considers 'Speciality' Subscriptions

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  • As long as it stays, I don't mind too much advertising. Just don't make me use another search engine.
    • I don't understand what people get by subscribing (i don't know what is a "vertical" search), but I just hope the service will stay good for the non-paying users.

      In the past google built an image of serious service, without popups, indication of paid ads... I have faith they will not want to give up this market for the new.
      • by JanneM (7445)
        A 'vertical search' is probably searching within that organizations websites; a large org, like a university can easily have tens of thousands of webpages and searchable documents, spread out over dozens, even hundreds of large and small servers all over the campus. My guess is this service is aimed at them - it's probably worth a bit of money to avoid having to implement your own internal search.

        /Janne
        • Vertical searches are searches within a specific category of information, a vertical niche. Much like a vertical business is a business that specializes in something. A horizontal search would be the general case search such as we see now.
  • ... a search engine that lists every non-banner ad, non pop up, non advertising, free porn site in existance... both of them.
    • If you install Junkbuster and configure Mozilla or Konqueror properly, you could probably increase that number to three... :-p
    • It looks like they don't want the customers (i.e. us) to buy from them directly, but those people like Universities and corporations who want custom enginers for their own customers.
    • It's reasonable to expect a site to not try to take over your computer (pop-up ads), but you shouldn't expect to find a lot of porn sites that are completely free of advertising; porn sites have to make money to pay for bandwidth and content. What do you find so annoying about porn banner ads, by the way? It's only when I'm reading text (at news sites) that I find myself hitting the Esc key to stop animations. I haven't encountered many annoying porn banner ads recently.

      I used to avoid clicking on porn banner ads because they often lead to pop-ups, but now I block pop-ups and often click on banner ads. (See my URL for why I never simply disabled javascript.)
  • ... until "Pr0n Image Search" is available for subscription?

    I wanna buy stock the day before.
  • Not long now until another free search engine comes along and replaces Google in the same way that Google replaced Altavista!
  • ..then Google will be sucessful at this endeavour. The key quesion is can they provide enough value to generate price subscription revenue. Their technology is mature but the content is questionable at best. Too bad the economy is forcing major instituitions to re-evaluate their budgets. I know that libraries and R&D departments are often the first to have their funding slashed.
    • How many sites make money again? Not sites which are the way you contact existing companies - sites which appeared out of nowhere to make money selling information?
    • Huh? Relatively speaking, their content is tops. Amongst all the internet search engines, I think you'll find that both anecdotally and empirically Google is tops. Granted, they're only indexing like 15% of the internet, but people tend not to care about that when everyone else only has ten.
    • by dragons_flight (515217) on Friday October 26, 2001 @12:41PM (#2484484) Homepage
      Yeah, they really will have to add new content to get this to work. Hopely there is enough added value in periodicals, internal corporate materials and other sources to make it worthwhile to people.

      What strikes me though is that they will have to add content which can't be available in the basic search. After all there is no reason to pay for specialty service, if what you want shows up as #3 on their free service. In this regard their technology is almost too good, and makes it hard to come up with information that isn't already available for free. I would be very disappointed if they started censoring what material was freely searchable just to put a price tag on some of it.
  • I fully support google doing this, because I'd be very upset (with everyone else in the world, of course), if anything ever happened to them. On the other hand, we've been using google forever as the perfect example of ads. We always used to be able to say, "Look at google, they're fully supported by completely unobtrusive, targetted ads, that people actually click on when they're interested!" This change will take away our ability to say that, and, really, the claim seems less convincing when you add on, "...accept for all the money they make off some organizations for access to their specialized features." I'd also worry about them pulling a salon, and slowly making more and more of their formerly "standard" features subscription-based, until you can't do anything except perform one sample search of their choosing without paying huge sums of money. I can justify paying for salon, since I now read it instead of any newspaper, but I'm not sure the same would be true for a search engine.

    For now, though, unless they do something that makes it hard for me to do what I can currently do for free, I welcome anything they do to increase their income...
  • I think that's a great idea, they said that they will be doing it for corporate clients. Hopefully they don't touch the regular users. Google Rocks!!!
  • I'm really happy with the service Google provides. Some of the stuff that pops up on those pay search engines is insulting to say the least. Google rocks and I hope they can get some loot rolling in to support them.
  • people typing in "google" into their google search.

    On a similar note, I like the new /. nav bar, I type in slashdot every once in a while to see what turns up.

  • How about Usenet? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by uradu (10768) on Friday October 26, 2001 @12:19PM (#2484351)
    If they beefed up Google Groups by adding archives before 1995, added a more powerful query mechanism (maybe regexp, even at the cost of reduced speed), and finally formatted the results in some more sensible fashion, I'd pay a fair bit per year for that. Given that I use deja (old habits die hard) many times every day, that would be worth even $100 a year for me.
    • Re:How about Usenet? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Masem (1171) on Friday October 26, 2001 @12:26PM (#2484394)
      Actually , with regard to stuff before 1995, they're trying. I submitted a story (rejected of course) about 2 months ago that Google was hunting for specific USENET achive CDs, the "NetNews" CD collection from 1992 to 1995. The specifics are here [google.com], but basically, they have some, but are missing a lot. They'd rather have the complete collection before they put up pre-1995 articles.
      • I remember that story (someone's got posted after all). But what good is it to wait a year or two until they have a "complete" archive, and only then posting it? Any old archive scrap is useful ASAP. What's the point in waiting?
        • whats the point in waiting?

          because google has an image of being complete, powerful and friendly.

          if they dont have a complete archive, they arnt living up to their own personal standards.
          • What exactly is "complete" in this case, and how would most people recognize it? Their image in my case would look considerably better if they offered me *some* data right now, than nothing for who knows how long. It's the old case of a bird in the hand being better than...
    • NOOoooooooo!! No pre-95 stuff. It's bad enough that whenever I search for something with 'linux' or 'RedHat' I end up with non-useful info regarding RedHat 4.0 or some old garbage that doesn't apply anymore. I guess if I was searching for dog grooming threads it might be just as well, but who the hell does that?
      • justletmeinnow
        An advanced search by date would solve the problem of old stuff comming up during a search.
      • Well, that's what the date range settings are for. The thing is, many topics even in computing had their heyday before 1995. Say you're interested in low-level bit twiddling on some device port under DOS. Good luck finding current threads on that. OTOH, archives before 1995 would have a good splattering of that sort of thing. Stuff like this is becoming relevant again with the growing popularity of embedded computers based on the x86 platform.

        What it comes down to is this: there's no such thing as too much data.
    • The thing you're missing is this:
      from what i gather about the ad, they're not talking about charging users to go googling. They're talking about charging corporations for listing them first, effectively creating the best advertising model ever. You search for something, and a company associated with your search string has a website that pops up at the top of the list. Naturally you click on that.

      The problem i see is - isn't this taking away from the objective of google in the first place? They were trying to make a fast search database, so they took out all the bullshit [slashdot.org] and made it simple.
      I thought that google indexed things based on what people that search for the same thing you do click on, i.e. if i searched for slashdot, it would bring up the item that the last 100 people that searched for slashdot clicked on.
      By putting ads in that spot, aren't they just making their own ground breaking idea less effective?
      Seems like a step backwards to me.

      But then, you gotta make money, feed the kids... business is business - 10 GOTO 10. If they do it, i won't stop using google.

      ~z
      • I do realize that they're not talking about charging po' folks. But they're most likely doing it in the spirit of not being the next dot-com-on-the-rocks, looking for ways to make some money. They could do much worse than setting up some "premium" services for frequent searchers and people requiring more advanced capabilities. With some money coming in, they might even be able to devote some development talent to features that couldn't otherwise be justified.
    • Right on. And I want them to spend mondo moola to somehow get the archives back to 1987, so I can read all my earliest drivel for free! (My current drivel features better punctuation).
    • personaly, I think it would be useful if they would speed up the time it takes to update the servers. 3-9 hours is a long time. yes Google is great for Research, but if you are at work, you have to wait for the end of the day or go home to get an up dated Usenet. Deja did a real good job at keeping Updated, why can't google do the same?
  • by duckbill (47856) on Friday October 26, 2001 @12:22PM (#2484373)
    I wish this was the case. Especially for the lexis legal research side.

    I doubt they can replace these types of services in the immediate future. It takes tons of labor to acquire the material needed to put together these services. Especially if you offer a value-added component such as indexing and headnotes.

    The promise of having this information on the internet has disappeared. During the economic boom, there were a lot of great web sites that took the time to digitize subsets of this information. They didn't index the material or offer the value-added features, but the raw content was still available.

    Since we have dipped into a recession, these sites either cease to exist, or they are updated too infrequently to be relied upon.

    To my knowledge the only companies that have these data stores are Lexis and for some legal and business matters, West Publishing. I don't see how Google can get the information without a licensing agreement from either company. If they have to pay for the license, I don't see how I could reap any benefits. Google's subscription couldn't be much lower than Thompson (Lexis) or West. Both services offer reasonable search capabilities in their present incarnation.
    • West Publishing does aka Westlaw. Lexis licenses the content.

      That said I doubt google is looking into providing legal research capabilities. They may be moving into the Nexis (news archive) side of the business though.
    • Lexis costs so darn much because they pay each content provider for the rights to search and reproduce the articles. Google only searches free content, so all they have to pay for are their devs, hardware, marketing et al. Lexis pays huge fees to the Washington Post, South China Morning Post, and so on...

      Moral of the story? There's not going to be a Lexis-killing Google anytime soon. However, Lexis licensing Google's search for their archives would be a wet dream...
    • Interestingly, both Lexis and Westlaw now offer (limited) "free" case law. West acquired Findlaw, and Lexis offers LexisOne.

      Neither Findlaw nor LexisOne offers many of the "value added" features (ie, headnotes) that the full service features offer, and neither is comprehensive. LexisOne only offers the past five years of case law, and no federal district court cases, for instance.

      Interestingly, I think that a lot of Findlaw is indexed on Google. Although I use the "real" thing most of the time (because of the value-added features, and the fact that LexisOne is pretty much crippled Lexis), Google is quite useful at searching Findlaw.

      As an aside, I would LOVE to be able to do Lexis or Westlaw-style queries on Google...
  • This really isn't a new market. It sounds like they'd be trying to take people out of the existing 'free service' and make them pay some fees to get a slightly different service. All in all it's the same service, you search for something and you find it. I don't see much of a market for making people pay for something they can get for free. Now, if they dumbed down their free service so you couldn't find anything maybe people would be willing to pay a little premium in order to achieve their goal...
    • How many home users do you know that would pay for this? Why not just go to a different search engine. Try http://www.teoma.com that's a pretty good, there is another one which I dont remember I will post if I do
  • And what's wrong with that?
  • From the article:
    "Google, however, has vowed not to go down the pay-for-placement road, preferring to stake its future on the strength of its search technology."

    And this is exactly why I will only use Google for my searching needs. Why would I want a lesser relevant result just because some company with cash thinks I should see thier website first?
  • by flufffy (192294) on Friday October 26, 2001 @12:44PM (#2484499)
    According to this story [cnet.com] on CNET, anyway. Here's a taster:

    Slashdot sees revenue in ads, fees

    By Gwendolyn Mariano

    Staff Writer, CNET News.com

    October 25, 2001, 12:30 p.m. PT

    Slashdot.org, the "news for nerds" Web site popular among software developers and Linux fans, said this week that it plans to use larger ads and offer a subscription service.

    When Slashdot increases ad sizes, it plans to introduce a subscription service for people who want to pay for an ad-free version. Jeff Bates, who runs the site, said Thursday that Slashdot will launch the new ads and subscription service early next year. The cost of the service has yet to be determined.

    "The larger ad formats are coming about really because, as Bob Dylan put it, 'The times, they are a'changing,'" Bates wrote in an e-mail interview. "While we'll still be mostly featuring the 468-by-60 banner, we're trying to work with our advertisers and see how we can work together. Rest assured though, we'll still be only having one ad per page."

    • I wonder how Slashdot's brass would react if somebody paid the measly subscription fee, then wrote a spider to go suck up the content and redistribute it verbatim on their own site - with no royalties being paid, of course. I would see this as no different than the ripping of songs from albums and their subsequent royalty-free redistribution. How would they reconcile this with the "information wants to be free", fair-use, and anti-RIAA/MPAA party lines that get run up the flagpole so often ?

      Of course, the beauty would be if the code used Slashcode and the developers used Sourceforge ...
    • OK, raise your hand if you'd trust Slashdot with your credit card information. Heh... heh heh. ha HA BWAHAHHAHAHAHHAHA! Oh, stop it, it hurts!

  • I like it, but if they don't go with the common mainstream stuff. For example, if they targeted specific hobbies, it would really be valuable. My example (which I can't hope for them to address) of classic arcade games (the actual 6' ones you find in the arcade) really could use a STRONG search engine that is focused on the niche.

    It'd hook me up with schematics and other things I need. Great for niche exploration.
  • by (nil) (140773) on Friday October 26, 2001 @12:51PM (#2484551)
    I've long held that if Google charged, I'd be in trouble. "How come," you ask? Well--Google is simply the best. There's nobody else there that comes close.

    Think about it: how many times per day do you use Google/Google Groups? As for me, it's a bunch.

    I must conclude that, if Google charged, I'd be forced to pay.

    -(())

  • Google really should have done this a while ago. At the stage of growth the have attained it's the next logical step to undertake. I for one would not want them to implement banners and such to get revenue. Let the compagnies and large institution cover the expenses, since the service they will receive will probably be excellent anyway.
    • It's smart of them not doing it a while ago, now that they have established themselves as the BEST search engine out there. They can get anything they want for it.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    A pointy-haired marketing boss meets with his crew: "Ok, team. A few days ago, one of the geeks pointed me to this story [slashdot.org] on Slashdot. After reading it and the comments associated with it, I realized that Google is missing out on the critical "search engines that suck" marketplace. As a result, many people are using our site, thus increasing our hardware and bandwidth costs. In an effort to reduce these expenses, and generate revenue, we need to come up with a way to make Google suck more. Any ideas?

    Clueless Git #1: I'm thinking pop-up windows, and lots of them. Nothing sucks more than that!

    Clueless Git #2: No, no, no. Pop-up windows have been done to death, and there are too many ways to disable them. We need something else; How about loading down the page with graphics and banner ads?

    Clueless Git #3: Sure, that's going to suck, but people can always turn off graphics. We need something that will make the site not only more annoying, but also inherently less useful.

    Clueless Git #2: How about switching the whole site to the Bulgarian language? That'd make it pretty much useless, everywhere except Bulgaria.

    Clueless Git #1: No, it needs to be just useless enough that people won't use it, but with just enough value that we can charge people for it.

    Clueless Git #2: I have an idea. Let's segment the index into narrow interest groups, and then charge people to use certain groups!

    PHB: That's a fantastic idea! It's less useful, while giving the impression of added value. Make it happen!

  • Google works, the best there is that i know of. Why change it if it works?

    But if they do consider changing, i would they get a different domain name for their second service. I just dont like change.
  • Google is not moving to a subscription based service. They are adding a subscription based service that goes above and beyond what they already have, adding expertise and tailored searches for organizations who would pay for it. This is a great idea, and an excellent source of new revenue (more stable than ad revenue, which is their primary source of income). Some people here think google will require everyone to pay to use the site. This is not true. For most of us, we won't notice the difference.
  • I would gladly pay a reasonable (~$5.00/month or so ...) for use of Google's search engine without ads.

    I would pay a little extra (maybe another $5.00) for a customized search service. For example, Google offers BSD users a way to search [google.com]
    BSD-related pages. I would like to have additional topic-relevant searches that I could define (or pick from a list). For instance, I'd like a Mac OS X search, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever search, a Jeep search, etc., etc.

    If they would provide a search bar for Mozilla (like the Google bar for IE, sans spyware), I would pay a one-time fee for this.

    There are lots of ways for this company to make money. I hope that they go that route.

    Chris

    • Oops, that link doesn't point to the correct URL. Here [google.com] is what I was talking about.
    • If they would provide a search bar for Mozilla
      • Edit - Preferences - Navigator - Internet Search.
      • Set default search engine to 'Google'.
      • Type your query into the URL bar.
      • Click search.
      And I won't even charge a one-time fee :)
    • I would gladly pay a reasonable (~$5.00/month or so ...) for use of Google's search engine without ads.


      Seriously? I heartily agree that Google is far and away the best search engine around, and wouldn't mind paying a nominal fee if required, but do you really find the current (text)advertisements intrusive enough to warrant $5/month? I honestly don't even notice them.

      • Yeah, I'm serious. It's not the ads that bother me so much (if they were images, I'd remove them w/ my transparent proxy), it's that I want good service from them. Here are my reasons:

        - The site is always up and if its not, I want my money back.

        - I like their search technology. I want to help ensure that they are profitable and stay around.

        - I never, ever want anyone to be able to improve their rankings on the results that I view.
    • I'm not sure if/when they plan to introduce a toolbar for mozilla (the faqs state that it is being "investigated"), but I would imagine they're holding off until xul either stops changing so fast or until netscape 6 gains enough users to make it economically justifiable to develop, support, and maintain such a thing. Since I would like to see such a thing for mozilla as well (the ability to highlight search terms on a page a la cache is very useful), I sent a message about a week ago asking if there would be a problem with an independent effort to duplicate the toolbar, but still no reply. Does anyone know what the appropriate address at google (other than toolbar-feedback) to send such a question is, or if there would be any interest in such a development project?
  • by Alomex (148003) on Friday October 26, 2001 @01:11PM (#2484656) Homepage
    If you do the math, the economics of search engines just do not work out. Over the last few years the amount in dollars of CPU time required per search has remained more or less constant (yes, CPUs are faster and cheaper, but the web is growing equally as fast).

    In practice, each query to a search engine costs about 1 cent. This means the search engine has to recover 1 cent from each user per each query. What is the ongoing rate for banner ad? well, glad you ask: 1 cent for every impression. So assuming you were able to place add impressions in every single search page (which is quite unlikely) you are just breaking even, which brings us to alternative source of revenues.

    All of these alternative source of revenues so far boil down to two types:

    (1) charge for doing searchers
    (2) charge for the listings

    There are two ways to charge for doing searches: one is subscription service for users, the other is to license the search technology for third parties. A surprising discovery of the information revolution is that the value of an invidual item is incredibly low, as the editors of Salon magazine, brill's content or Slate can attest to. Therefore users are not likely to jump in and pay for searchers.

    If you license the search engine to a company the same effect comes into play: most companies do not own valuable enough information to justify the cost of a search engine.

    So (1) is not working how about (2)?

    Charge for listings has been tried in many different ways: skewed rankings, faster and more frequent crawling, directory insertion. Skewed rankings is a non-starter as it drives users away (even so, every so often the search-engine-near-bankruptcy-du-jour goes that way).

    Charging for frequent crawling works but not many companies sign for it.

    So (2) didn't work either, which leaves most search engines struggling to keep afloat. Now here comes the interesting part: as the web continues to grow, the original search engine architecture starts to show its defficiencies.

    Rearchitecting an entire search engine live is a major endeavour, with software and hardware costs well into the tens of millions of dollars, but we just said that the search engine company was barely keeping afloat! So they are unable to rev-up into the new generation.

    The only group of people who can secure tens of millions of dollars is a startup backed by a bunch of hot shots from academia/industry lab. In comes the upstart out goes the old, monolithic giant. You can tell that story many times over just by changing the names:

    Lycos--OpenText--AltaVista--Hotbot--Google--???? ? ..... stay tuned.

    • Seems like the obvious answer is... government-funded search engines. Crudely, the role of government is to deal with (important) market failures.

      IANAT.


    • I'm going to have to take issue with you on (2): Overture [overture.com] (formerly GoTo.com) has used the pay for placement model since Day One. That is their business model [overture.com]. And they aren't doing too bad [yahoo.com]. Keep abreast of the news [yahoo.com] before you make blanket statements.
    • If you do the math, the economics of search engines just do not work out. Over the last few years the amount in dollars of CPU time required per search has remained more or less constant (yes, CPUs are faster and cheaper, but the web is growing equally as fast).

      In practice, each query to a search engine costs about 1 cent. This means the search engine has to recover 1 cent from each user per each query. What is the ongoing rate for banner ad? well, glad you ask: 1 cent for every impression. So assuming you were able to place add impressions in every single search page (which is quite unlikely) you are just breaking even, which brings us to alternative source of revenues.

      All of these alternative source of revenues so far boil down to two types:

      (1) charge for doing searchers
      (2) charge for the listings

      (3) charge for "sponsored links" separate from the "unbiased search results"

      Your analysis covered sponsored links hidden in the search results (and how that drives traffic away), but you forgot these other, non-intrusive sponsored links that Google already has, which make far more than a penny a click. If you break even as you suggest on the "search cost/basic ad revenue" balance, sponsored links are nothing but profit.

      Search engine economics is not nearly as glum as you paint them to be.
      • (3) charge for "sponsored links" separate from the "unbiased search results"

        Nope. This is just a variation of banner ads. The fact that they are presumably related to the query makes them better and more targeted banner ads, but banner ads they are.

        Search engine economics is not nearly as glum as you paint them to be.

        There is a long list of search engine carcasses to support my gloomy picture (Infoseek, Lycos, Excite, OpenText, Altavista). Until a search engine finds a new revenue model (either new source of income or dramatically lower costs through a technological breakthrough) they will all be condemned to fail.

    • Some questions:

      1. How did you assign costs to CPU time ?
      2. Where did you get your figures on the computational cost of a search, and its relation to the size of the web ?
      3. Where did you get your figures on the size of the web ?
      4. Can you supply a reference for the figure of 1 cent per impression for banner ads ? and do you know how much google gets for its text ads ?
      • Exactly what I was thinking. Where are the facts?
      • How did you assign costs to CPU time ?

        ?? I don't quite understand this question. But if it helps the cost of approx 1 cent is the final cost, including bandwith, sys-admin support, R&D, not just the CPU.

        2. Where did you get your figures on the computational cost of a search, and its relation to the size of the web ?

        First hand experience on the development side of search engines.

        3. Where did you get your figures on the size of the web ?

        Widely available in the academic literature. (Try searching for information retrieval).

        Can you supply a reference for the figure of 1 cent per impression for banner ads ?

        Give me a break. This is also widely available. Take ten seconds to do a search in google for page impression rates and you'll get as answer the standard rate of $10 per 1000 impressions for tons of sites out there.

        and do you know how much google gets for its text ads ?

        Google is a private company so not much information is available. I think in the past they have claimed, IIRC, to charge a bit more than standard the industry rate.
        • Look, your post above makes a very interesting potential case: that search engines cannot make money. I'm not trying to be adverserial here: I just want to know how you calculated what you say you have calculated. If you could just supply links for the sources of your numbers, and give me an idea of how you did the maths, I'll be happy.

          ?? I don't quite understand this question. But if it helps the cost of approx 1 cent is the final cost, including bandwith, sys-admin support, R&D, not just the CPU.

          Well, good, but how did you calculate these costs ?

          [costs of searches and how they grow] First hand experience on the development side of search engines.

          Fine. I'll believe what you say. So what is the relationship ?

          [size of the web] Widely available in the academic literature. (Try searching for information retrieval).

          The suggested search produced nothing of use. Could you please supply a link.

          [revenue per impression for banner ads]Give me a break. This is also widely available.

          As above. All the links I found said "numbers vary widely". As for google, someone has posted the publically available numbers below.

    • Lycos--OpenText--AltaVista--Hotbot--Google--????? ..... stay tuned

      --A-Distributed-Search-That-Doesn't-Suck-- is next on the list, but unlike the others, it won't die, because the network is the computer.

      A traditional search engine is a mostly centralized and controllable client-server beast -- something that business naturally gravitates to because it needs this point of CONTROL in order to have a chance to profit. It's also a small part of the reason why we don't have a useful distributed search engine yet; there's not much money in it, so we have to wait for clever "hobbyists" to evolve it.

      Eventually, we WILL rest upon on an as-yet-unrealized distributed search engine; one a thousand times "smarter" and more sophisticated than that gnutella hack can ever hope to be.

      • Eventually, we WILL rest upon on an as-yet-unrealized distributed search engine

        I agree.

        If it is not worth private investment it has to become a public good. Either is nationalized as others have suggested, or maintained by public fiat.

    • If ever Google is on the verge of dying, the government(s) should bail them out. The service they provide is too valuable to let them slip away. The internet (well, the web) would be rather useless without Google (or another similarly excellent search facility).
    • There are two ways to charge for doing searches: one is subscription service for users, the other is to license the search technology for third parties. A surprising discovery of the information revolution is that the value of an invidual item is incredibly low, as the editors of Salon magazine, brill's content or Slate can attest to. Therefore users are not likely to jump in and pay for searchers.

      I think you're mixing apples and oranges here. You're comparing Salon, which provides content, with Google, which provides a service, namely searching. You can replicate content easily; however, you cannot replicate Google's powerful indexing mechanisms. Hence, Google is the sole distributor of a high-quality service, and I think that they could charge for their service.

      Mind you, I think that the cost of searchings would need to remain low (pennies a search), but even at 2 cents a search, they could probably make a bundle (given that you estimate a search costing the provider 1 cent). 1 cent profit on every search is probably a lot of money.

  • Before long we're have to pay to access anything on Google. And I understand those of you that say that Google is a company, and thus deserves payment for their service. But how many of you would be willing to pay for Google even if a subsription service had ads? Where do I get such an idea? From cable TV of course. The original idea was to have TV without ads, but we all know what happened to that. You pay $30/month, and you still put up with advertising. I think the same is going to be said about online service. You'll pay them money, but once they have your money, what is to stop them from increasing their bottom line by getting advertisers and ugly popup/must-click-here-to-see-content style adversting?
    • Google works so well for me that I'd have no problem paying a few extra bucks to use it, even if they kept the ads in their current form intact.
    • It's going to stay free for normal users. The subscription content will be pitched to commercial/educational entities with value added features (giving more relavent results)
    • More GREEDY BS from a company riding high on the hog during an economic downturn! Google, I have a message for you: If you try to charge me, I will stop using your site. It's really as simple as that! There is no excuse for trying to capitalize on the "new phase" of the Net, in which companies start trying to charge for services that used to be free. Frankly, I think it's a despicable and opportunistic ploy, one which will lead to the downfall of what is admittedly a pretty good search engine. To reiterate: Google, if you try to charge me, I will leave and NEVER come back!
    • Most towns have only 1 cable provider and they're
      all running the same channels, so you can't really
      pick and choose because cable is kinda monolithic.

      There are 1,000s of search engines, so if one annoys you with adverts,
      you can go with another one or even build your own if so inclined.
    • The original idea was to have TV without ads, but we all know what happened to that.


      Yep, we all got Replay or TiVo. :)


      You'll pay them money, but once they have your money, what is to stop them from increasing their bottom line by getting advertisers...

      HBO and friends don't feel the need to interrupt shows with advertising. Not yet anyway.

    • It amazes me to see how advertisers frequently forget that the Internet and print / broadcast mediums are so different. What works on paper doesn't always work online.

      When I turn on the TV, yes, I expect to see ads. But these ads are relegated to their proper spots during a programming block...they aren't contained in the shows themselves. In other words, I can be safe knowing that I can watch Law & Order without worrying that Jerry Orbach will start talking about how cool the X10 wireless camera is. And when the advertising does come on, I can simply get up and go to the kitchen or bathroom, or change the channel.

      When I pick up a newspaper I paid for, yes, I'll still see the ads as well. However, there are no ads on the front page, where the important stories are. There's still ads inside the paper, but they don't interfere with my ability to read the stories. When I'm reading an article in the paper, I know that I'm not going to hit an ad contained in the article itself.

      But let's see how it's done online...

      I go to a news website, and I'll be hit with active ads before I can even read a story. The ads range from annoying Flash ads (some of which include SOUND), pop-up and pop-under windows, and other flashy ads. Even if I go to read an article, there will still be the same ads in the article. Hell, some sites like Salon.com stuff a FULL PAGE ad down your throat before you can continue. There will be ads dividing the article's paragraphs, of varying annoyance. And if I try to leave, that doesn't stop the site from firing a pop-up window at me when I close my browser!

      The difference here is that print / TV advertising is passive. It doesn't try to overtly gain your attention. Internet advertising is active. It tries to get your attention even while you're trying to read an article. If I'm going to pay for a subscription with ads, I will not do it under those premises.

      If a site wants my money, I will be happy to pay for a subscription with the ads, provided these two major guidelines are met...

      No active advertising! Get rid of the Flash ads and the pop-up and pop-under windows!

      Ads must not interfere with story content. I don't want to have to navigate a sea of advertising to read something.

      Advertisers frequently say that we put up with ads in newspapers and in TV, which we pay for. That's true. But those ads aren't trying to get my attention every second, even if I'm trying to do something else. Want my money, but want to keep the ads? Make them less annoying.

      • Good post, I agree with everything you said. The basic fact is, people in advertisers are all of the same ilk: They are conniving weasels looking for any opportunity to push their products, even if it means annoying the hell out of people. When confronted, they always say "This is the new reality of the Internet..." To that I say: Bullshit! Who are THEY do dictate what the new realities of the Net are? The best was after Sept 11, when X10 voluntarily disabled popups for a few days. What they were saying was: "To show our respect for those who were affected by the tragedy, we're going to stop annoying the fuck out of you for a few days." What a joke! Advertisers and marketers are ALL anoying weasels!
  • No one is going to pay for a seach engine. I spend 10 hours a day online (for my job ..really i sware...) and i would never evan think of paying for a seach engine.

    Google may be a little better then some other ,but not that much. Not that much.
    • What part of "...in addition..." do you fail to understand?
      General searching will still be free. Specialised organisations will pay for dedicated searches. It's not rocket science.
  • I'm glad you mentioned having different controls for different groups of users. I can easily imagine jobs where it is impossible to get anything done without being able to install software, and that's not just developers. Sysadmins need to be able to install and test software, too. In general, I would recommend that non-IT people have their boxes locked down tight, that tech support people have the ability to minor changes (new wallpaper or screen saver so they don't hate their job so much), and developers, sysadmins and security goons be given the ability to do what they want, with the provision that their keystrokes and traffic *will* be monitored.
  • I for one would be glad to see Google aggresively tackle this. Professionals love newsletters and discussion forums and indexed information, and pay for them regularly. Doctors use RxNet or Rhombus. Lawyers use Lexus-Nexus and Westlaw. People use online phone books that cost money as well.


    Anything that will fund Google to become more of what they already are is fine with me.

  • Google indexes the internet, Lexis-Nexis indexes... err... just about everything else.

    There are "production" groups in Lexis-Nexis taking old law books by the boxload and putting them on scanners, manually correcting the resulting OCR'd files, and manually indexing them according to about a gazillion different catagories. I was walking through one of the copy rooms and saw some of the old material being copied... it was (as I recall) Fullers original patent for the steam engine.

    They also index local and national publications of all sorts, and have the results available faster then I had imagined possible.

    Oh... and guess who has more content archived and indexed and available for search and delivery... Google (the entire internet) or Lexis-Nexis (with their own private databases)... To put it another way, which do you think has more data... the world wide web, or the Lexis-Nexis databases? :) I think you will be suprised at the answer (unless you use Lexis-Nexis).

    And you should see their server room ;)

    Bill
  • $20 a year.

    I am willing to pay $20 ($19.95) a year to have unlimited access to Google with their current advertising scheme. It is an enriched service that they offer and it has intense value to me. I would prefer to have it for free, but I also want free cable, free electicity, and free water. Don't get those, so why should I get a free Kick-Ass search engine.

    Okay, okay, if I had my druthers and had to pay, I would rather pay $4.95/year.
  • Google already has specialized searches for educationial and commercial entities.

    Check out their Other ways to use Google Search [google.com] page which lists:

    Special Searches

    For searches restricted to the US Government [google.com], Linux [google.com], Apple [google.com], and BSD [google.com].

    Our University Search [google.com] enables you to search to a specific school's website.

    Adding a couple of spiders dedicated to subscriber's sites (possibly on their sites only for their sites) and some key words that are relevant to them seems a simple and straightforward enough proposition. Indeed haven't all of the other search engine folks been selling off their technology for corporate installations for years?

C for yourself.

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