Around this time last year, Google and Dell entered into a partnership that would see Google’s web and desktop software preinstalled on Dell machines. A year on, Dell users are getting irritated that their machines are pushing them to error pages loaded with Google Ads, rather than editorial listings.
To get a quick background of the issue, let’s look back to 2006, when Google CEO Eric Schmidt had this to say about the deal:
“The real reason we do this is for users. People turn the Dell machine on, and everything is integrated right there. (This deal) is a turnkey solution for search.”
Another feature that Google ‘integrated’ into these machines was a “Browser Address Error Redirector” that sends those using Dell computers and trying to reach non-existent web sites to a Google page loaded with Ads.
For example, say you were trying to enter www.google.com and you accidentally left the ‘m’ of the ‘.com’. You would get redirected to a custom error page that looks like this.
This screenshot shows the page as it looks on my monitor. See how the top half is loaded with sponsored links and actual web search results only feature below the fold. Surely if Google “did this for the users” as Schmidt said – the organic web search results would feature first on this page.
To me, this feature seems to clearly destroy the user experience, instead trying to cash in on typo’s and misspelling. After all, the financial details of the Google / Dell deal included shared revenue from search advertising fees – making this feature profitable for both companies.
Have Dell & Google committed an evil search sin? I’ll leave this for you to decide.