How to Compete With Google

Google, from its humble origins at Menlo Park, California in 1998, has become the world’s leading search engine. Formed by Stanford University students, Larry Page and Sergey Brinn, Google now boasts assets in excess of $30 billion and a net yearly income of more than four billion dollars. Google is recognised as the most powerful brand in the world. The number two and three players in the search engine stakes, Yahoo and Microsoft, are so far behind the game that even the failed proposal to merge their search businesses would have made little difference to Google’s global domination. Any attempt to compete with the Mountain View based behemoth would seem to be dead in the water.Google, because of its global position which brings in all those billions in advertising, is not without its detractors. The main issue web users have with Google is its desire to track our web surfing habits. Google claims that it wants to offer us appropriate web adverts based on our known search behaviour. Google’s opponents counter that such observation compromises the privacy of the individual. Despite Google’s apparent hegemony in the search industry, there are a number of smaller companies who are aiming to beat Google in specialised niches. Nitin Karandikar, in his blog post, “Top 17 Search Innovations outside of Google” explores the work being undertaken by potential competitors to Google. In his commentary on Karandikar’s post, Don Dodge, Director of Business Development for Microsoft’s Emerging Business Team, cites three sectors as promising:

Natural Language Processing
Local Search
Cell (Mobile in the UK) Phone Voice Search 
Natural Language Processing (NLP – not to be confused with neuro-linguistic programming), or Semantic Search, has long been touted as the future of search. Conventional search is based on the actual main words used in the search query. Google ignores conjunctions such as the, what, and, in, how. NLP aims to answer the search query in the context of human language. NLP has largely failed because most people, when searching, only type in one or two words. Local Search is coming to the fore on mobile devices such as smart phones. GPS enabled devices can detect the geographical location of the user and can promote nearby businesses when a search for a restaurant or hairdresser, for example, is entered.Don Dodge identifies a major failing in local search when he reveals that 50% of businesses do not have a website. For local search to have any real value, it must be able to access all local businesses. This is a clear argument for those business owners without websites to act swiftly or penalise themselves. Local search is clearly a major growth opportunity. Mobile phone voice search offers the greatest opportunity  to Google’s competitors . The concept has a number of mountains to climb, such as the difficulty in providing a good voice recognition application for mobile phones. There is also the challenge of displaying clear results on the phone screen.With mobile technology advancing at an incredible rate, this surely is a very promising sector for would be Pages and Brinns. In conclusion, it is clear that Google will not allow its competitors to just walk away with the market for any of the above search marketing innovations. It will at least develop bigger and better applications, if not buy out any upstart startup business that dares to try something new in search. The entrepreneur, though, has the advantage of scale, small scale that is, as opposed to the need for Google to develop  the massive support systems necessary to service the second biggest startup in the world.

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Buy a Business For Sale Or Starting a Business From Scratch

When a person makes the decision to go into business for themselves, the first question they will ask is, ‘should I buy a business for sale or start a business from scratch’. Particularly in today’s current economy this is a decision that needs some careful thought.Whether you are being made redundant, at the end of your employment contract or simply looking for a change, the biggest incentive for self employment is the fact that the sky is the limit! My father always told me that I would never get rich working for someone else. Being self employed might also be your only option in the current economic downturn, so choose wisely before committing to a business venture on your own.When starting a new business, more often than not the new business owner will need some sort of start up money, and with interest rates at an all time low, there couldn’t be a better time to seek financial assistance from a major lender. Depending on your needs, there are different types of business loans to choose from. Your accountant will be able to point you in the right direction.Many successful businesses and major corporate companies in today’s business world were developed in tough economic times, so do not be deterred from starting your own business just because of the negative press our economy is receiving.Buying an existing business for sale is deemed as a much safer option. Buying an existing business with a steady income is obviously a more practical solution however these businesses usually come at a price. The current owner will be able to show you financial records of all profit and loss information.An existing business will also have experienced staff already in place. Finding reliable, trustworthy staff can be a long process and having staff already in place is one less problem you have to worry about.That being said, with the current economic crisis, you may be able to find yourself a good deal with an existing business for sale that is experiencing financial crisis. When negotiating a price, try and get a feel of the owner’ body language and sense whether or not he is after a quick sale. If yes, than make an offer well under the asking price and wait a few weeks. You never know your luck.When negotiation are taking place, remember to include your loan repayments in all of your calculations, wages, overheads, fuel, outstanding debt, product, etc, etc. Not doing this would almost certainly see your budget blow out resulting in a financial crisis of your own.Whether you decide to buy an existing business for sale or start up a business from scratch, you should always seek legal advise from your solicitor and accountant. They will be able to guide you through the whole process as smoothly as possible. They will also be able to help determine the value of an existing business and while making sure you do not overcapitalize in the process.

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Automotive Service Technicians Go High-Tech

By the year 2000, there were about 217 million vehicles on the road in the U.S., traveling 2.5 trillion miles, and consuming 160 billion gallons of gasoline. In light of these figures from the Center for Automotive Research, how could you not consider a career in the ever-expanding automotive industry?Need more convincing? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, automotive service technicians held about 803,000 jobs in 2004, and demand for technicians will only increase as the number of multi-car families continues its upward trend.And, median hourly earnings of automotive service technicians, including commission, are $15.60 (the highest 10 percent earn more than $26.22 per hour). In addition, many experienced technicians receive a commission related to the labor cost, and employers often guarantee commissioned technicians a minimum weekly salary.So the growth of the automotive service profession is not surprising — today’s technicians are high-tech professionals, working on complex vehicles with global positioning systems, Internet access, and alternate-fuel systems. Their work goes beyond traditional repairs and involves inspecting, maintaining, and repairing automobiles with electronic as well as traditional hand tools.
Since cars are more computer-controlled than ever before (according to the Center for Automotive Research, the average vehicle contains between 40 and 50 microprocessors), automotive service technicians need the intensive career preparation offered by automotive service technician schools.The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology and the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certify a number of automotive service technician schools, which may offer general education courses as well as employable skills such as customer service and stress management.Certification is the next step after completing coursework at automotive service technician schools. Voluntary certification by ASE is the standard credential in the automotive industry. You can get certified in one or more of eight areas of automotive service, including electrical systems, engine repair, brake systems, suspension and steering, and heating and air-conditioning. If you want to become certified as a master automobile technician, you need to be certified in all eight areas.Job opportunities are expected to be excellent for those who graduate from automotive service technician schools and become certified. Even through downturns in the economy, the effects on the automotive industry are minimal.Rev up your high-tech career with hands-on training from automotive service technician schools.

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