16 July 2009

Does Google Abuse Position to Promote Their "CAD" Software?

I am not sure how many follow the PageRank™ system that Google uses for 'assigning a numerical weight (of importance) to a web page'. For some time now Google has been assigning Sketchup.com a higher PageRank(PR 8) than Autodesk.com(PR 7). Could Sketchup.com possibly be a more important resource on the web than Autodesk.com?

According to most web traffic indexes, Sketchup.com doesn't receive a small fraction of the traffic which autodesk.com gets. Autodesk.com is also a much older site than sketchup.com. By Google's own index, Autodesk product names are searched several times more than "Sketchup" as a key word. Most of those searches are strictly related to Google free version of Sketchup. Sales of Professional version of Sketchup don't actually surpass Autodesk - not by a long shot. But Google does happen to own Sketchup.

Here's the problem. I think Google doesn't actually know much (or care) about CAD software, much less the needs of engineers and architects who use it. Some people (like myself) wouldn't even consider the free version of Sketchup to actually be a true CAD program. Yet Google PageRank seems to assume the position that this brand is arbitrarily more important, somehow more significant, more useful than any other CAD resource on the web. This artificial manipulation of "significance" influences the results people see when they search for terms like "CAD".

Is this what happens when a large company in control of a large infrastructure uses that position to cross-promote unrelated products from other sectors? Google could just as easily buy an accounting package tomorrow, brand it as Google something and suddenly their site has PR 8. Just like that.

It's probably true that Sketchup is a significant product, as many use the free version for creating buildings and other features in Google Earth. Other CAD programs, including AutoCAD and progeCAD can do this as well BTW. But would anyone besides Google consider the site (and by natural connection, the product) more significant than ALL other CAD software sites?

1 comment:

Ryan said...

Thanks for your post. I couldn't remember the name of Google's free simple drafting app.

Your blog popped right up and answered my question. Its a real help for the majority of us who don't need the full power of expensive software like autocad.

Google.