In a separate thread on this self same topic, I referenced a recent article wherein Google's interjection of its own information is causing problems for an entity, in this case Seaworld. Mike Blumenthal writes about some of the issues and misinformation that the knowledge graph is causing SeaWorld here: http://blumenthals.c...aph-sucks-more/
There have been more problems.
It brings to mind that since 2005/2006 when Google first introduced maps.google dot com information into the first page of google via universal search there has been evidence and a world of problems associated with the information that google has presented.
The info excerpted from maps and injected into the first page of google via the PAC with its associated Map is actually an example of this scenario of Google taking information from websites (or in this case from the smbs' themselves and from 3rd party websites) and re presenting the information in Googlese or google's own format.
Google has not to date monetized this process. On the other hand, they incorporate the call for smb's to "claim" a listing and provide information into a long subtle process to get smb's to use adwords. Additionally they push adwords to smb's through reselling partners. But on to the discussion of google providing its own data and information.
The PAC featured information about the smbs that google took from many sources (the smb's themselves and from scraping the web) and represented within the PAC.
Clearly between 2005 till about 2011 there were endless problems with the information being wrong and misleading. It was horrendous. Thousands of smb's and their webmasters could be seen wailing and crying and beseeching google to correct misinformation that kept flooding the PAC.
The misinformation kept creating problems for visitors, for the smb's and often created havoc for the smbs. I spent considerable time inside google's local forum, helping some smb's studying the issues, dealing with some of these problems as they affected our own smbs.
I'd say around late 2011 till this day the volume of issues has diminished. They still pop up, albeit at less frequency and they tend to get fixed more quickly.
Additionally, google's local data added driving directions via google. From its inception till about 2010 google maps and directions were poor; giving bad directions, sending people down the wrong roads, sometimes sending people down the wrong way on a one way street. It took years for that information to become "good" and reliable.
Frankly we had smb sites with our own directions on the sites. They were far superior to google's directions for years. For a number of years for different smb's we fielded calls from people who were lost because they followed Google's poor mapping. When we asked them where they got those directions the responses were always Google.
How often did users go to Google's data versus our own websites or those of the many smb's who suffered from misinformation via the Google PAC and its aberrational misinformative PAC information? Its hard to say. One could track traffic to one's own website. Nobody though has any information as to how many searchers relied on information provided provided by the PAC. Those are google's pages and you can't track the traffic. On top of that they supplied information to those smb's that "claimed listings.
It was often completely misleading. One could not trust that data.
Assuming Google started injecting its own information via local maps and universal search back in 2005/2006 its been 7 to 8 years since this process of taking information from other sources has been going on and creating google information.
To date they haven't monetized it directly but frankly for the majority of the 7 to 8 years so much of the information has been so bad so repeatedly.
Its astounding that in all this time no larger more powerful force hasn't hammered at Google. They have been the monopolistic power over access to information on the web, and frankly they have been mostly non responsive to all their mistakes and flaws. In that long process their mistakes have caused uncountable damage to certain brick and mortar smbs. In that regard its not surprising Google, which prides itself on being the repository of all information on the web, took all the commentary in the google forum for local businesses and TANKED IT. Hid it.
You cannot access all those complaints and cries and disgust and pleas and anger. Google hid it.
The current reference to the problems at SeaWorld are a current window into this situation that Donna highlighted. Some of the ongoing issues are far worse than Mike's article highlights.
Its astounding in my eyes that google gets away with this.