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26 December 2002

Google Follows the 'Yellow Brick Road' to Oz

The world's love affair with Google has seen the search giant launch more regional domains this year than ever before. So far, Google's path throughout the world seems paved with gold. As they head down this "yellow brick road" to launch Google Australia, I took the opportunity of interviewing David Krane, Google's Director of Corporate Communications, about their plans for Down Under. 

[Kalena] At the Search Engine Strategies Conference held in Sydney this year, there was some discussion about a domain dispute between Google and the owners of www.google.com.au. Can you talk a little bit about how was this resolved? Was it a legal issue and/or did it involve a monetary exchange? 

[David] WE ARE UNABLE TO DISCLOSE DETAILS REGARDING GOOGLE'S ACQUISITION OF OUR .AU DOMAIN NAME, BUT I CAN CONFIRM THAT IT WAS ACTIVATED ON WEDNESDAY 18TH DECEMBER (AUSTRALIAN TIME)
 




 

 




 
 
 
 

[Kalena] With the launch of Google Australia, will Google be establishing an Australian office or locating any staff there? I notice there is an advertisement for Sydney staff on the web site?

[David] WE HAVE NOTHING SPECIAL TO ANNOUNCE AT THIS TIME, ALTHOUGH WE WILL LIKELY HAVE MORE DETAILS TO SHARE WITH YOU EARLY NEXT YEAR. 


[Kalena] Given that LookSmart Australia claim to reach up to 80% of the search market in Australia, how do you think the launch of Aussie Google will impact that market?

[David] WE GENERALLY SEE AN INCREASE IN TRAFFIC AFTER LAUNCHING A NEW DOMAIN NAME. 


[Kalena] In terms of relevance, what is the quality of Google's Australian content as compared to other regional engines, for example AltaVista.com.au?

[David] GOOGLE.COM.AU IS NO DIFFERENT FROM GOOGLE.COM. BOTH SHARE THE SAME TECHNOLOGY AND ABILITY TO AUTOMATICALLY FIND THE MOST USEFUL, RELEVANT SITES FOR A GIVEN SEARCH. AT THE HEART OF OUR SOFTWARE IS PAGERANK, A SYSTEM FOR RANKING WEB PAGES DEVELOPED BY OUR FOUNDERS. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS PLEASE SEE: http://www.google.com/technology/index.html  


[Kalena] It appears that Google AdWords is a definite hit with Australian businesses trying to market their sites to users of Google.com. But will the local domain launch allow Australian companies to target users of Google.com.au in their AdWords campaigns as opposed to users of Google.com? Or will ad displays still be based on searcher IP address?

[David] GOOGLE ADWORDS ADVERTISERS IN AUSTRALIA ARE ALREADY ABLE TO TARGET THEIR ADS TO USERS IN AUSTRALIA. CHOOSING A TARGET LANGUAGE AND COUNTRIES IS A FIRST STEP IN CREATING AN ADWORDS ACCOUNT. ADVERTISERS CAN CHOOSE TO TARGET SPECIFIC COUNTRIES AND SPECIFIC LANGUAGES. 
LOCATION TARGETING IS BASED ON THE IP ADDRESS OF THE SEARCHER. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ADWORDS PLEASE SEE: https://adwords.google.com/select/faq/index.html 


[Kalena] When searching Google.com.au, currently the default is to search "the web". Will that eventually default to search "pages from Australia?"

[David] THE DEFAULT ON ALL OUR COUNTRY DOMAIN SITES IS "THE WEB". USERS CAN CHOOSE TO SEARCH WITHIN AUSTRALIA IF THEY SO CHOOSE, FOR EXAMPLE - IF IT WOULD HELP TO NARROW THEIR SEARCH . 


[Kalena] Do you have any figures for Australian usage of Google.com and do you think that Aussies will embrace a local Google, given their tendency to use international search engines by default?

[David] WE GENERALLY SEE AN INCREASE IN TRAFFIC AFTER LAUNCHING A NEW DOMAIN NAME AND WE EXPECT THE SAME WILL HAPPEN WITH AUSTRALIAN USERS. IT IS OUR AIM TO PROVIDE THE BEST SEARCH EXPERIENCE ON THE WEB, WHICH INCLUDES HELPING USERS TO NARROW A SEARCH TO THEIR HOME COUNTRY ONLY. WE HOPE THAT AUSTRALIAN USERS WILL EMBRACE A SITE THAT GIVES THEM A VARIETY OF OPTIONS FOR SEARCH, AS GOOGLE DOES. 


[Kalena] Are there any plans for Google Australia to partner with other regional search engines or directories to provide search results (e.g. Yahoo Australia) like your relationships in the U.S.? What about providing paid listings - any plans to distribute AdWords results on other Australian engines?

[David] WE HAVE NOTHING TO ANNOUNCE AT THIS TIME ABOUT OUR PLANS.


[Kalena] Are the regional Google databases, Google Oz included, updated at the same time as the main Google database (i.e. during the traditional "Google Dance"?). Are there certain "Google Guardians" for each region amongst your staff?

[David] THE PAGES IN THE GOOGLE AUSTRALIA RESTRICT/DATABASE ARE UPDATES AT THE SAME TIME AS THE MAIN GOOGLE INDEX, WHICH IS REFRESHED EVERY 3 - 4 WEEKS. AS GOOGLE IS FULLY AUTOMATED, THERE IS NO HUMAN CONTACT WITH THE INDEX. 


[Kalena] Finally, in terms of maturity and usage, where do you see the search markets of Australia and New Zealand? 

[David] AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND ARE RELATIVELY YOUNG MARKETS, WITH FEWER WEB PAGES THAN IN THE US OR SOME EUROPEAN MARKETS. BUT, AS WITH MANY YOUNGER MARKETS, THEY ARE CATCHING UP FAST AND THE NUMBER OF WEB PAGES AND WEB USAGE IS GROWING RAPIDLY. 


[Kalena] Thanks for your time David.

 


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