I'm guessing that your problem with this Jafo, comes from thinking of Google as using the people as unpaid advertisers. Or that Google creates a buzz around their product by leveraging on peoples desire to participate in programs of exclusivity. From these angles I can understand your grief. Though I disagree. I much prefer this method of marketing over having my ears, eyes, and mind assaulted with product misrepresentations and garbage totally unrelated to the product. I put no value in software review articles. Best to hear directly from the users. etc. But thats a personal preference. If you don't like Googles methods, fine. But call it like it is. You just don't like the method. But it is Not a pyramid scheme.
WhiteElk you are wrong, plain and simple.
The advertising/distribution/marketing IS a Pyramid 'scheme' process as it's a mathematical progression. I can't help it if you are lost in semantics for whatever reason but so be it.
Google does NOTHING other than distribute/advertise/invite sufficient people to get the PYRAMID system kick-started.
It ultimately costs THEM nothing in advertising their service....they don't letter-drop...door knock....take TV time....whatever. No, they "employ" their own users/customers to Advertise FOR them. They subversively 'trick' their users into spending time and/or effort passing on these 'invites' to others for no fee for work done....none offered....none given.
They then benefit from the viral nature of the PYRAMID process to disseminate their advertising to as many people as fast as possible so as to falsely imply their service is both fantastically desirable and indispensible.
None of it/them are.
The reason Google is commercially successful is down to their ability to suck in as many people as quickly as possible into there data-mining processes desired by and bought by their Advertisers.
It is this dissemination of invitations in PYRAMID form that ensures the commercial success of Google. They need a database of users....and the users themselves get them FOR Google.
Ignoring the mathematics of Pyramid distribution, even without people involved 'paying Google' to please YOUR interpretation of a 'Pyramid Scheme'... the mechanics of it is this...
Google GIVES User One 6 invites.
User 1 spends 5 minutes passing on [advertising] them [Google] - and spending time has a commercial 'value'.
Tier 2 [of a PYRAMID] each spends 5 minutes advertising Google....'cost to' Tier 2 = 30 minutes
Tier 3 each 5 minutes advertising ...180 minutes [three hours of 'advertising that Google didn't pay for]
Tier 4 - do I really have to go on.... or is it making sense yet?
The whole fun of it is...."do no harm" or whatever Google's motto is looks intact....there's nothing of the 'regular' Pyramid to collapse...
...but perhaps their motto should be 'Get others to do your work FOR you....and don't even THINK of paying them for the privilege"