Google wants to shrink the internet

Introduction – message to Messrs Google & Co: sorry for this apparent criticism. I am not actually criticising Google here; just explaining what I think is happening. I could be wrong. It just looks like that. In some ways I agree with shrinking the internet. It is too big; a sprawling mass of websites, most of which are doing nothing, clogging up the world wide web. People still believe that they can make a success out of a website. 99.99% of the time they can’t.

Essentially, there are far too many websites providing information and making revenue through advertising. They repeat each other. There is far too much of it and we don’t need it. All we need is a few really good sites providing information and I think Google has come to the same conclusion although we will never know because they never tell us anything meaningful. It is all smoke and mirrors for Messrs Google. I also believe that Google is struggling to provide a fair and good search service.

Also, around 50% of internet users who used Google search before now go to AI bots like Chat GPT for information which has contributed to a catastrophic drop in visits for millions of websites in combination with Google’s latest, severe, algo change. Is this the beginning of the end for blogging? Fair question.

Internet symbolised
Internet symbolised. Image: MikeB by DALLE
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

Watch out website owners. Your time is up. 😢😡 The internet has expanded from one website in 1991 to 1.5 billion today, of which it is believed around 200 million are active.

Think about it: Google search results provides millions of links to websites in a single column list, but only the top 3 sites on page one get clicked! Or perhaps if I am being generous a user might click on the tenth link or even go onto the top of page 2 but these are rare events.

So, Google has had a massive problem for ages: how to be fair in search results. It does not really work. They operate ‘timeshare’ in which the algorithm allows some sites to be ranked higher for a while and then they drop them back into the pack where they are invisible.

Thanks to the advent of AI and a rethink Google first decided to dramatically change their algorithm to favour the large websites such as Reddit and Quora and devalue the smaller sites. Google says that it is not biased toward large site; just sites that meet its objectives but are they right and are they truthful?

The result? A shrinking of the useable internet. Added to that the news now is that “Google is reinventing itself for the AI age,” (Daniel Howley at Yahoo Finance).

Google will totally redesign their search results. Searchers will see an AI-generated overview “that offers summarized responses to queries along with links to the sources.”

That is AI summarising what it has found in its search of the internet which I believe has been happening for a while and this information is stored on Google servers. Their AI bot has already got the information it needs. It is all there already. But the information has been ‘stolen’ from independently owned website run by experts. These sites are being rendered invisible. It is the ‘survival of the fittest’ in true Darwinian style.

The exception is news which is constantly changing. Search results for news websites has to be different. But even news is highly repetitive. The news media sites all chase the same news and copy each other. I don’t think Google likes this. It is all duplication which is another reason why Google wants to shrink the internet and make it more manageable for them and users.

As Google is the de-facto unelected manager of the internet, they have decided that it needs reshaping. It is already hurting millions of website owners and it’ll get worse. I would not advocate starting a website today. Don’t bother. It is a fool’s game. You can’t make genuine money anyway unless you have good financial backing and create a huge site which dominates.

“The shift stands to shake the very foundations of the web,” said The Washington Post, which by the way – like many other news websites – is subscription only. There’ll come a time when nobody will be able to access news on the internet without a paying subscription to a news website. More shrinking of the internet in effect.

An AI summary provided by Google’s AI bot pushes the links we are used to looking for further down the page “where they’re less likely to be seen” or are frankly invisible and dead. This threatens the web traffic of “millions of creators and publishers” who need the traffic that Google sends their way. Rather than a diverse, user-created internet, the result could be “a system where information is provided by just a handful of large companies.” That’s the view of the Washington Post. And I agree with them. It is internet shrinkage à la Google and it is the biggest change to the internet ever.

Millions of medium-sized website that have been around for ages are already suffering thanks to Google’s recent algo change. It’ll get worse for them. Many will close.

Does Google have the right to harm websites like this? In the wild west of the internet the answer is yes. But I can foresee a mass pushback by millions of sites in a joint effort which may lead to international litigation on a grand scale in the world’s largest ever class action.

Websites don’t have to accept it. Sorry Google. We have a voice. We have a heart. We have experience. We don’t accept these changes that harm our work. Many sites have already suffered reductions in hits by as much as 90% effectively ruining their sites. This is not right. A single entity does not have the right to do this.

I would argue that it is unlawful. We need to stand together and fight it. One problem is that many website owners are fearful of criticising Google. They don’t want to make enemies. Nor do I. In many ways Google has been great for the internet. But they have become dictators. Where is the consultation with website owners on how to improve the internet.

It seems that Google has decided what it best for the rest of us. Why gave them this power? No one. They grabbed it.

RELATED: Artificial intelligence (AI) undermines the Internet

Google revenue?

If, as I state, Google is trying to reduce the size of the Internet to make it more manageable for them, won’t they lose revenue from advertising? In my view, not necessarily because all the traffic that will be lost to the small websites will go to the bigger ones where, on the face of it, more money can be made through advertising. I’m sure Google has done a lot of work on this and made projections through modelling. I would expect their revenues to go up because they’re very good at that. But the Internet, I believe, is being reshaped and there is no place in this new, brave Internet world for websites like this one anymore. Or if there is they will play a very minor role whereas at one time this website played a major role in cat welfare. And I am very, very proud of that.

1 thought on “Google wants to shrink the internet”

  1. There are probably millions of website owners who are pulling their hair out and contemplating giving up as I write this. They have given their all to make their site a success and now it has all come down to nought thanks to the points you make in the article.

    For hundreds of thousands of bloggers, it is time to give up and stop. There is no point in continuing if on average around 10 people read what you have written and you make $2 per day on advertising. Do something more productive and useful I’d say.

    Reply

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