Where is Google Headed?

3 10 2009

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I just read a very interesting article by Erik Qualman, “Is Google Turning Into a Social Media Company?”  I highly recommend that you read this blog!

Clearly, Google is headed in the direction of Social Media, but in at the same time in a Business Week article Eric Schmidt is making it very clear that search is the top priority for Google going forward.

Google Corporate Priorities

  • Clearly, Search has to remain #1 at Google.  That is their bread & butter and they know it.  And, BTW, the #2 search engine is another Google property, YouTube.
  • Social Media, specifically Facebook presents a real challenge for Google.  What goes on in Facebook is not open to the Internet and is not searchable by search engines like Google.  Facebook is creating their own walled-off world what they may strategically chose to add a search engine later and disintermediate Google.  Google must respond.
  • Twitter presents another challenge for Google as it is short (140 characters) and realtime.  How do you rank a tweet relative to a Fortune 100 Web site?  That is something Google will have to figure out.

Google is making open standards a core of their counter-strategy in Social Media.  For example: All Google products are written in Java, XML, and other open standards.  The new Google Wave is an open source effort where the code itself it open to the developer community.  The question is: will end users care at all about open standards?  I believe they will if:

  • The open standards attract software developers who deliver better functionality on Google’s products
  • The open standards themselves somehow result in better functionality, rather than least-common-denominator approaches.

I am sure that Google “gets” all this and it will be another very interesting battle to watch.  Generally speaking, when a company achieves superior market share in an Internet business like social media, The Network Effect is a very serious barrier to entry for competitors.  But, don’t count Google out.  Social Media is far from sorted out yet, and Google has a history of coming from behind to disrupt market leaders with a better product.

I agree that this is a very serious play by Google to take a leadership position in Social Media.  Stay tuned…

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