Dan Gillmor on Google:
Google is a media company more than anything else, a company that sells
advertising space on its own site and on its partners' (and customers') sites.
The business, built on a sturdy foundation of delivering targeted ads based on
people's actual interests, has legs.
It's also an obvious business for
competitors. If Microsoft and Yahoo weren't tough enough opponents, consider the
growing number of micro-advertising services that are springing up to serve
niche markets. In the Weblog world, for example, a small company called Blogads
has been effective for advertisers who want to target specific online journals.
Google's ad products are fine, but they're hardly a monopoly.
Google needs to
become much more of a platform, not just a collection of services. The company
has made some visible steps in that direction, but the strategy is still quite
hazy, perhaps deliberately.
Some observers have speculated that Google is
creating what amounts to an Internet operating system, an environment people and
businesses could use to effectively replace today's desktop computing services.
That's a big task, but not impossible.
If that is the aim, and even if it
isn't, Google should work harder to expand and open up its "applications
programming interfaces'' -- the instructions it offers to programmers on how to
use Google's searches to create other kinds of services. Google has a developer
ecosystem of sorts, but it's not nearly vibrant enough.
While Bob Cringely adds:
Whatever the company does will be incredibly technical because that's their
greatest strength. Remember, Google's CEO is Eric Schmidt, who used to be Chief
Scientist at Sun Microsystems, so technology doesn't scare these guys. In fact,
they prefer it because machines are more predictable than people, as Schmidt
learned when he tried to turn around Novell. THAT's why Google is cut from whole
cloth with every new hire chosen to be of the body.
The key to making money
in search is to get between people and what they are searching for, and that's
where Google is on a collision course not only with Microsoft and Yahoo, but
also with Amazon and eBay. Amazon is vulnerable to the Googlization of all the
millions of retailers who aren't running Amazon storefronts just as eBay is
vulnerable to the Googlization of auctions where localization, pricing, and
seller fees can all be improved.
But wait, there's more! What about
GoogleMedia? Find all the pictures, video, and music, then create a marketplace
for it. I'm not just talking about taking on iTunes, though that is a logical
possibility. I'm talking about new ways of buying and selling all types of
intellectual property. And given this week's court decision against the movie
studios and in favor of Grokster et al, that could even come to include
GoogleMovies. But any system for buying pictures to put in your term paper also
requires a means to pay for it. So expect either a GooglePal or more likely an
alliance with some established financial institution already convinced that
PayPal must die.
These are courtesy Rajesh Jain's Emergic Blog