Google recently announced they were going on a hiring spree this year, creating up to 6,000 new jobs across their burgeoning organisation. This led to an avalanche of excited applicants – 75,000 in one week, to be precise. The very fact that Google hiring people is considered news underlines their increasing importance in the online world. Google has reached such a level of dominance in the search market that it finds itself in the unenviable position of having to defend its previously much-loved search algorithms and services for small business.

In an interview with iStockAnalyst that resulted in a fairly combative article, Google’s Managing Director for the UK and Ireland Matt Brittin assumed more a role of defender than advocate, facing a barrage of questions surrounding the search giant’s privacy policies, tax obligations and business model. While many may be critical of some aspects of their operation, it’s important to remember that for many fledgling SMEs, Google is a lifeline to free, potentially very lucrative business. The search giant also provides many useful business tools completely free.

Brittin highlights this role in his interview, pointing out an initiative kicked off by Google, PayPal and BT to get 100,000 small businesses up and running on the internet with their Getting British Businesses Online initiative. Using free services such as Google Apps, a competitive suite of productivity and business tools (email, calendar, documents editor etc.), small businesses can forego previously expensive startup costs. Google also offer their analytics software for free – indispensable for businesses who operate mainly through their website.

Google faces all the problems inherent to big businesses – bad communication, too much red tape, accusations of tax dodging – but it’s important to remember that they have grown to a position of dominance off the back of the quality of their services, and these services can be invaluable for small businesses.

What Google services does your business use? Let us know in the comments!