Unless you’re over 90 years old, live in a nudist colony on a remote island, or have been in a coma for the past 10 years, you know that Google is an internet giant. Google processes over 20 petabytes and handles somewhere around 250 million searches daily (there isn’t really a way to get an exact number). With nearly 70% of all searches being conducted using Google, the California-based web company has effectively put a stranglehold on internet search results. Serving up search results, however, is just the tip of the ice berg in examining how far Google’s reach extends throughout the web.

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As of March 2008, Google has acquired a total of 51 companies. These acquisitions include high-profile companies like AOL, YouTube, and DoubleCLick, which Google purchased for $3.1 billion. Google also owns well over 500 domain names, with that number growing everyday.

Aside from the numbers, Google’s internet reach is exemplified by the wide array of products and services they offer. From web applications to business solutions to advertising networks, Google has positioned itself into as many profitable niches as possible. Today, the list of products and services offered by Google includes Gmail, Google News, Google Product Search, Google Goups, Google Maps, Google Video, Google Checkout, Google Apps, Google Earth, and Google Labs, just to name a few.

Perhaps the most well-know (and most profitable) Google service is Adwords, which allows advertisers on the web to reach a highly-targeted segment of potential customers at a fraction of traditional media costs.

Because of it’s affordability and ease of use, thousands of business owners and webmasters have chosen to make Adwords their main advertising vehicle. Google has also established an ad-serving network, called Adsense, in which website owners can allow other Adwords ads to be shown on their site. Because of the widespread use of Adwords, it is not uncommon for a website owner to make a living entirely from Adsense revenue.

The widespread use of search engines, and specifically Google, has also given rise to an entire industry dedicated to improving a website’s search rankings. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become less a commodity and more a necessity for businesses looking to establish their presence on the web. A major goal of SEO companies is to increase the rankings of a client’s website for certain keywords. Because Google is the most widely used search engine on the web, increasing organic exposure on Google has become a main focus of the search engine optimization industry.

It isn’t hard to see that Google is a major force on the internet landscape. When your company name becomes a verb ("Google" was added to Webster’s Dictionary in 2006), you must be doing something right. And they show no signs of stopping. Google has recently begun to expand into television and radio advertising. They have also been developing mobile services software called Android, which is an open platform allowing users of any cell phone type to access a range of features including the web, messaging, storage, and media support.

Any way you look at it, Google’s influence on the web is far reaching to say the least. With growth and revenue continuing to increase, that influence is only going to become greater.


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