Sunday, January 17, 2010

A take on Google's strategy: all good things come to an end.

oogle soared to everyone's consciousness with their self-titled, ground-breaking on-line search engine, that single-handedly ended the feud between AltaVista and Yahoo for search-engine dominance. Later came the acquisition of already popular on-line services such as YouTube and other social media orientated services. Then we slowly became used to free applications on basically all of our devices. There was Google Earth for our PCs and later the Chrome OS and there was Google Maps for our cellphones. Now the giant has moved on to releasing their own device the Nexus One being the latest example of this, naturally sporting Google's own software and operating system. What will Google focus on next?

In this entry I will discuss my views on Google's apparent strategies to begin selling services and the devices that use those services, instead of collaborating with other device manufacturers by providing only the software for their devices. I will envision the future, which to me looks very Googly indeed. But as suggested in the title, I have a feel that all good things will come to an end.

Whatcha doin', Google?

Google's received some due criticism over the decision to begin manufacturing devices, browsers and operating systems instead of providing only services for existing browsers and platforms. Well, not so much criticism, but some puzzled opinions about why Google is turning its former partners into enemies by starting to compete with them. Apple's iPhone made Google Maps the default mapping software on the phone and Mozilla made the Google search the default search engine in their Firefox browser. Now Google's entered the cell phone market with Nexus One and continues to release versions of Google Navigation only for phones with Google's own mobile OS, the Android. Samsung, HTC and numerous other device manufacturers have placed their trust in Google and put Android on their devices. The devices can't live without software, but the software definitely can't live without devices that use them. Google's also got its own browser entirely, leaving Mozilla in the shade in their future plans. Or so it seems, at least.

The future prophecy

Google's even been reported to show an interest in becoming an electricity company, providing 'greener energy for us all'. OK, nice idea, but you're a search engine company, are you not? Well not for long. This expansion into virtually every realm of the tech world will, of course mean that we will be seeing Google, well, everywhere. Now inherently this isn't a bad thing, because people use Google products for the reason that they are good products. Still there's no competition for Google's search engine or Google Maps, for example, because Google is also keen on upgrading its services constantly.

I think that in the future though, Google won't have anything to do with distributing it's software for free, because it won't have a partner's platform to do it on. The software itself will probably remain free, but you will need to pay Google for the platform or device the program runs on. In my view the biggest reason for Google's success in all things internet has been the reason that they've been free . Well, not entirely free, we've given our personal information out to Google (whether we realise it or not) and so that advertisers can bombard us with ads that might interest us, as we've told them our interests.

On the internet there's a constant trend of people using services that are free and once those services become something you have to pay for, they will discontinue using that service and another service provider will take its place. I think that this is what will eventually happen to Google as well. If Google continues to limit its applications to 'Google only* platforms, people will move on, although of course many people will pay the price.

So what is my prophecy exactly? Well, it is this: Google will become even more popular and widely used service provider in the future. However, I see that there's only a certain extent to which Google can, a) continue to offer its services for free, and b) expect people to stay on board once we get to the point where to get the max out of Google programs you need to pay something. So I see that Google will continue to grow for the next, well let's say 3-5 years. If Google,however decides to go ahead an attempt to provide people with the device and the software and claim most of the market to itself , it will begin to lose people using its products. This is because at this stage Google will have had divided people into two groups: customers and non-customers. Naturally only the former get to use Google products.

© Christopher Peake 2010

No comments:

Post a Comment