As a long time web addict, I have watch Google’s rise to power from a distance at first. I started with Yahoo! and even bought stock in the company. To me they were the first and I was happy with my search results. When I first heard of Google I thought, great name but there are plenty of search engines and I’m happy with Yahoo!
However much has changed since the 90s and Google has evolved from much more than just a search engine. Google has developed and offered email, online mapping, office productivity, video, voice and now Android mobile Wi-Fi devices. This week alone Google announced free Wi-Fi in 40+ US airports, an operating system and purchased AdMob, the largest mobile advertising marketplace. For most companies this would be a year’s worth of development and acquisitions.
And let’s not forget Google Wave that has slowly been creeping out over the past few months. I’ve sat patiently watching this play out a bit as well. Many a tweet has passed by me stating, “I’ve got Google Wave invites, who wants one?” This past week I finally asked for one and low and behold last night I got three! In fact I’m writing this post just before I strap on my digital board shorts and get ready to ride the Wave! (Hint: more about Google Wave in a near future post!)
Let’s face it what is Google going to do next? Offer electricity and water to your home? Online ticket brokering, personal shopping, pet sitting services? At some point when does Google become like Wal-Mart and become too much. Is being able to offer ALL things to ALL people a great idea but somewhere along the line your quality suffers and consumers turn on you? Is that OK as long as you return profit to your shareholders?
Sadly to say the answer to both of the previous questions is yes. Yes you can try and be all things to all people but at some point you cannot deliver the ultimate in quality, price and service. Wal-Mart uses extra low prices to get you in the store; once you’re in they want you to buy other stuff they make profit on. Sounds like a casino, free drinks as long as you are gambling! But Wal-Mart has recently rebranded itself including changin the logo to soften its image. Their tag line changed from “Everyday Low Prices,” to “Save Money. Live Better” Will Google have to do the same in 10 years if they face similar consumer backlash?
The other marketing strategy Google has done extremely well is the free model. Free as in you don’t have to fork out money. Of course Google does own your content and tracks data that is valuable to advertisers and other research hungry marketers like me. But we don’t care as long as it’s free and it works! Yet we know it’s not free entirely. There are ads and other sponsored messages that are supporting the costs.
Don’t get me wrong I like Google. I use many of their tools and their technology is great. This blog you are reading is free from Google. I know many of you out there are saying yes but Blogger is basic and WordPress is better. I agree with you as well and in the coming months I will wean off Blogger and build my WordPress blog. But to get started and not have to deal with design and configuration, Blogger gets you blogging. Isn’t that what it’s all about?