What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis is, according to its own inside flap, “one part prophecy, one part thought experiment, one part manifesto, and one part survival manual.” Jarvis uses Google Inc. as a model of the ideal business in a society which is changing both technologically and culturally. Jarvis posits that Google exemplifies the proper way for a company to function in the new, “gift economy” wherein, “the mass market is dead, replaced by a mass of niches” (Jarvis 3). Google’s quest to, “organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful” (Google) has been a direct cause of the rise of the mass of niches through the process of “virtuous circles” – in which the customers and the corporation benefit
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According to Matthew Ingram of the Globe and Mail, “Google is one of the least open or transparent companies around. It reveals as little as it possibly can about its finances, not to mention the workings of both its page-ranking system and its search-related advertising engine.” This is not to say that Google is Jarvis’ only example, nor is it what his book is really about, but its lack of transparency is a glaring hole in the argument for Google as the paragon of Jarvis’ ideals of business in the internet age.
Fortunately for Jarvis, Google is only his prime example, not the whole of his thesis. What Would Google Do? is about the rise of the mass of niches, and how to reach said niches. Google is the great organizer of information. It is the way that more than 80 percent of people search the internet (Ingram). Google’s massive market share, Jarvis believes, means that in order for a business to be successful it must utilize Google as a tool to bring customers into its network. Jarvis calls the means of being searchable “Googlejuice.” Googlejuice is the essence of how a company or individual is to be found through the Google search engine. Googlejuice’s importance comes as a result of what Jarvis calls the “link economy.” Google’s ranking system – which determines how close to the top of the page a search result appears on Google’s results page – relies upon the number of links which direct internet users to a web page, as well as how many times a certain