Have you seen Google?

by Francois Joseph de Kermadec



Google is talked about everywhere. It is touted as the best

search engine
, the best

ad provider
, an

innovator

in the Internet world, an

information condensing

platform, an

evil proxi-er

and a very

ambitious corporation
. Google, it seems, is everywhere, crafting the Internet as it will be tomorrow, an internet that will be accessible, beautiful, fast and standard compliant.



Now, dare I ask someone here to load

Google.com

in a browser? It no longer is a "bare minimum" page, as it contains links to services, a "Personalized home" shortcut, three preferences links, a copyright notice and decorative features but, at the same time, it is not clearly organized, has no navigation feature, no easily found site map — does "More" really help you find your way quickly around a site?



So, it may be standard I hear you say? According to the

W3 validator
, it is a complete mess, a tag soup. Is it beautiful? Well, that is a matter of taste, of course, but, beyond very nifty

error pages
, Google may want to learn how to properly

anti-alias

some text.



Of course, you can reasonably argue that GMail is the best e-mail client ever written (I would have to believe you, for having never used it seriously), that Google Groups actually is a wonderful source of information and that the search results Google returns are best. I would agree about Google Groups and probably tag along with regards to search. And yes, Google Maps is awesome.



But don't you find it disturbing the very company that is supposed to open up the web doesn't open its web site, doesn't provide a straightforward interface and doesn't apply their wonderful scripting capabilities to their site? Google Suggest, for example, still is tucked very below the radar and the neat Dock-like effect Google played with for a day has been promptly taken offline.



Quick, what should you do? Load

Google.com/suggest
? Nope! You are loooking for

Google.com/webhp?complete=1
. Easy, uh?



Yahoo is constantly criticized for its complex site and lackluster interface, with much reason, might I add. Looking closely however, I see little difference between the Google of today and the Yahoo of yore, as far as composition and graphical creativity go.



To me, the real question is not to know whether Google can create a kick ass service like Google Maps but it is to know whether they can find ways to apply their findings to pages everyone uses. If we ever want a Web 2.0 to happen, we need to take it out of the "killer apps" and apply it to the everyday sites and situations. That is the real test and, so far, it isn't happening.



2 Comments

dscotson
2005-11-02 13:31:45
Google not validating
This gets brought up every so often, and every time I've read about it someone has ended up claiming that Google does this intentionally so that it can shave some tiny amount of K off the download and fit the remaining content into a single transmission packet.


e.g. this comment on a recent similar thread over at molly.com


"The reason Google is the way it is very purposeful. Inspect the compressed data after Gzipping it fits in one packet. The could have crunched harder if they wanted they made purposeful decisions to make this happen. No doubt they should attempt this in CSS and aim for the same result, but donít assume people are uncaring or idiots until you ask them why they do something"


It would be good to get a definitive answer on that.

F.J.
2005-11-02 14:50:07
Google not validating
Hi!


Thank you very much for sharing your views with us, it is indeed most interesting. I did hear that theory in the past and understand that, at the scale of Google, bandwidth saving is crucial but would hope that standards and interoperability could come first.


Thanks again!


FJ