Saturday, January 17, 2009

Google is the Heir of Sun Tzu

A few days ago I posted a pretty long article about my experience with setting up a SharePoint intranet. Less than twenty-four hours later, I received a LinkedIn invitation from someone working for the same company as I do but located at the other side of the world. That person kindly introduced himself to me, wrote a couple of nice words about my SharePoint article, and asked to be connected to each other. My first reflex was to immediately accept his network invitation - after all we are colleagues - and to thank him for his kind word.

I then started wondering how he had found my SharePoint blog article. My article was not the first one to be written about SharePoint. It is surely not the most detailed or the most complete article about that topic. Additionally my blog is not (yet ?) one of the most read and famous blogs of the world wide web. So how could he find me through that article so quickly ? Not even a day had passed since I had posted it on BlogSpot.

I then remembered that a few hours before getting the LinkedIn invitation, I had received my usual Google Alert digest. For those ignorant of Google Alerts mechanism, Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic. In other words, you enter a keyword or two and Google will bring you the search results right into your mail and when something new it added on the Internet concerning that keyword then a it will appear in your next Google Alert. And on that day, my Google Alert digest tuned for my company name contained my SharePoint article. Needless to say that from there it became as clear as 1 + 1 = 2. All people using Google Alerts with the same keyword had received the link to my blog. This was the right explanation. It could not be otherwise and a few hours later I even received the written confirmation. It was a good guess.

So what is the true meaning of this story ?
Google knows it all. It knows everything available online about you, about your company, about your competitors. It knows what has changed or what is new, and it knows it before you do. As such, Google sets itself in straight line with Sun Tzu so famous principle:
Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.

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