Posts tagged ‘search’

August 14, 2010

What is going on with Google?

Who doesn’t love Google? It is THE search engine and effectively owns search on the internet. However, I see some trends that might cause some concern. So what is going on with Google???

With all that brain power, we have yet to really see any other blockbuster innovations beyond their core search business. Ok, Android is out and is doing well. However, I know a number of Android users who seem to have issues with the phone. And it looks like Oracle is now suing Google over patent infringements. I definitely think the Android phone is cool – just not as cool as an iPhone. Personally, I prefer the keypad on my Blackberry. Google apps seemed like a win for organizations wanting to move to the cloud and save money. However, I am starting to see a backlash against that as people are simply failing to adopt Google mail and applications. Simply, it’s hard to pry Outlook out of most knowledge workers hands! Google apps is just okay but has it really made everyone toss Microsoft Office aside in favor of it? Schools and non-profits seem to be adopting Moodle and yes, Microsoft SharePoint! Google Wave made a splash and simply fizzled out like a failed crowd of hands at a baseball game. And then there’s Google in China (or not in China)…

A lot has been written on Google and their “culture of innovation”. However, what are they monetizing besides search? Is Google really able to compete against true capitalistic giants like Oracle and Microsoft in the enterprise? Are they too innovative and too visionary and too intellectual that the main stream just doesn’t get them? Why can’t Google capitalize on all that collective intelligence and dominate everything like they dominate search? People talked about Google being the next Microsoft but I’m not sure I agree Google has the same capitalistic mindset of Bill Gates. Apple seems to continue to innovate better than Google AND actually bring products to market that make money. And I really have to wonder what the problem is at Google? Is Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt to blame? He is no doubt one of the smartest (and richest) individuals on this planet. I have nothing but admiration and respect for his intellect and career. His track record at Novell and Sun were great and perhaps he was fortunate in the timing of his tenure at those companies. But do you know anyone still running a Novell network today? Schmidts’ tenure at Sun brought us Java, but Sun was another company that seemed like it just couldn’t find ways to make money in spite of innovative products. (And Sun was lucky that Oracle bought them).

Perhaps Google needs to hire more capitalistic and marketing focused MBAs who understand how to turn innovations into real products that consumers and businesses will adopt — and focus on making profits and generating new areas of revenue growth. Search will always be important, but I see it becoming more of just a commoditized utility. Who will care if we search on Google’s site vs. Facebook’s? Is there really any loyalty with search? Sure everyone knows the word Google and use it as a verb. However, most of us spend more time on Facebook and as long as we can find the score to the game, get the latest news headlines, or address and map of that restaurant — who cares what search engine provides us that information. Furthermore, websites like Alltop and innovative hardware like iPads are reshaping how we aggregate, consume, and filter our content that searching will likely become secondary.

If I look into my crystal ball, I see the semantic web and technology finally allowing users to make sense of all this unstructured information on the web. Right now, most us just search for what they need vs aggregating or filtering information via Google. I’d like know what is Google doing or what will they do to help us to filter the noise…