On.. What the hell Google is up to…

Take a look at this list.  Looking through it and trying to infer a business strategy from it is like trying to divine the future from the leaves in the bottom of your tea cup.  Wild crazy people think you can, but most people don’t.

So who is right?  The wonder of prediction is that only time will tell, so right now people can state whatever they want and it isn’t possible to prove or disprove.  Looking at Google and the way they work it sounds like one of those straight-out-of-Uni-dot-com-startups of the late 90’s, but one that actually had at least two good ideas.  This is great, yay for them.  However their business model and the way they work is being seen as some sort of revolutionary way to run a company.  The thing is though as far as I can see they look like a company that is unfocused just spinning around hurling out ideas and hoping some of them stick.

They have lots of interesting products but very little in the way of sellable business ideas.  This is fine when you are constantly growing because your advertising business is doing so well.  However it will need to hit on another good idea before they reach saturation with Adwords and Adsense.  Their problem right now is that they are floated, so now investors are going to be asking where the new money is coming from.  The problem with whirling around spitting out products to see what sticks is that it doesn’t answer your investors, if they don’t get answers they stop investing.  With a company like Google the stock is going to be very sensitive, a lot of people are waiting for the other shoe to drop the first sign of that could spark a self fulfilling prophecy.  The dot com bubble hurt a lot of people.

They are stuck in a tricky situation, they have a lot of community goodwill because of their experimental approach, however with investors and friends like the Murdoch’s of this world there will be a squeeze on them.  They are occasionally missing some great chances to push themselves forwards because of their chaotic approach.  They aren’t maximising possible profit from their current IP beyond pushing advertising.  This is great from a community and developers point of view, however the investors arn’t going to put up with that forever, particularly those buying in late in the game expecting a good return on their investment.
What’s more they are now the people that small companies aspire to be, so just as they took on Yahoo and Altavista and everyone was behind them cheering the underdog, they are now part of the very system they set out to take over.  The smart money is on the next start up, the next Google.  Furthermore while they try and maintain their position they are going to continue to run roughshod over their “don’t be evil” mantra.

Perhaps they have something, some secret weapon they are about to unleash on the world.  We’ll see, I’ll have to go study the tea leaves….

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11 Responses to “On.. What the hell Google is up to…”


  1. 1 Thomas September 28, 2006 at 2:43 pm

    You are not the only one that goes down that route:

    http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jun2006/tc20060629_411177.htm?campaign_id=bier_tcj

    I think their strategy is simply ‘develop new stuff and throw it on the market. If it survives it’ll be o.k. and pay for the rest that didn’t survive.’.

    This way google becomes an ‘application incubator’, which a lot of engineering and innovation power. Instead of building a company each time, they re-use their infrastructure to build new applications with unproven market potentials. As long as the ad business brings in the big cash that’ll work.

    As an example where an application might bring in money or just ad time on TV for free:

    http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=6177519282230704031

    Or combining Gmail with ads.
    t.

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