Google is a great example of how powerful the Internet really is. With more users than all the other search engines combined, and by a crazy wide margin, Google is a powerhouse the likes of which the business community hasn’t seen for a long while.
No More Playtime
As big and as successful as Google is, it has not done well with many of the ventures it has developed. The Google Wave project, touted as the future of messaging, was not. Nearly all of Google’s social networking efforts have met with failure. Gmail and Google Apps for Domain are the two bright spots, technically one, as they both depend on Gmail. Google Docs is not a competitive threat to some of the other productivity offerings on the Internet. So it would appear Google can’t do anything well except search right? Well not really.
With the release of Google+ they prove they can do a pretty good job at social media as well. With a launch that was so successful the company had to shut down registration for a short time, Google’s new social media foray may just give facebook something to think about.
The Panda Update
It would seem that between the Google Panda update, that may be responsible for a 16 percent jump in revenue for the first quarter 2011, it the opening shot in the coming Google campaign. As a measure of how serious Google is, future employee bonuses will be tied to the company’s success with its social networking efforts, even if the employee is not directly involved in that development. The message is clear; Google has to start working for a living.
Recently, the US Government approved Google’s purchase of ITA software. ITA makes and maintains most of the software running airline booking systems and discount airfare aggregators. While the deal was approved with restrictions and will entail Government monitoring, it puts the company in a position to capitalize on the lucrative market. Perhaps a custom Google Airfare discounting a booking system is coming.
Google also announced a major upgrade to the YouTube video service that will involve a complete new look and feel, the creation of channels, and original content distribution. Recent shifts in the media market with Netflix going independent and major cable providers scrambling to open their offerings up to mobile subscribers make the YouTube move logical and a little aggressive.
More than anything else, this is a fundamental change in the corporate culture of Google. For years they were seen as the playground of the ubergeek and about as un-businesslike as possible. These new moves seem to introduce a Google committed to compete in the technology sector and not just have fun with the permanent advertising revenue. Google’s lock on search engine revenue may have been the thing that kept them from really developing. There was no need to earn a living, just experiment with the money that was there. The “one day a week spent on a personal project” rule for Google developers may soon end. As powerful as Google is in the present Internet market space, an aggressive “winner-take-all” Google could be a warring idea. The company could dominate in several markets, and it would be hard to stop them in some. A concerted and well-focused social networking effort could begin to grow and threaten real competition for Facebook. A more extensive Google Cloud could alter the budding Cloud industry. Android has shown the way and now Google may be getting serious about exploiting that opening.