To return to the topic of a previous post about people's search habits I've had a very real confirmation of Jemima's assumption that people just blindly type into Google and don't use or understand the browser address bar.
My wife has recently set up a new small business and of course I got dragged in to dust off my rusty HTML skills to set up the website over the weekend. When we told friends, family and a few potential customers to have a look at the site, nearly all of them said they couldn't see it. Double check the address, yes that's how it's spelt, .co.uk not .com etc etc. No luck. Did I forget to register the domain or configure it wrong? -no, it worked OK for me.
It turned out everyone had typed the website address into Google, either directly or by some browser trickery as suggested by Richard Young in the previous post. Of course, being a brand new site it hasn't made the Google index as yet.
But that brings me to my main point. He we are with a real registered limited company, a valid domain name and website URL, a proper (not redirected) web hosting site with a bit of content. And yet until the mighty Google decides to index the site at its own whim, the business is effectively invisible to many of the users in cyberspace. In a very practical sense, Google effectively owns (and can veto) the publication of new domains.
Now the humble Google search box has some pretty clever pattern matching logic sitting behind it - type in "convert £50 to $" and it does it by magic. Put in a Fedex number and it will track it. Put in 5*9+(sqrt 10)^3= and it will do your maths homework.
... but type in www.companyname.com and Google will ONLY find it if it has indexed that site. Otherwise you draw a blank. With some of the biggest brains on the planet working in Google labs, surely they could add the logic to say "if you search for www.something then go straight to that website"? But then that would give the DNS domain name system preference over Google's index. I may be a cynic, but I think someone somewhere wants more control...
Oh well, there goes my next weekend trying to persuade Google to pick the site up...