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Google's DNA 171

Posted by Zonk
from the bioengineered-for-the-win dept.
bart_scriv writes "Businessweek confronts Google naysayers with an analysis of the company's business structure, arguing that its unique structure lends it the flexibility to adapt to any and all markets: 'Google is actually the first company with a brand that is built entirely on stem cells: able to grow and develop into whatever form it sees fit.' The article predicts significant changes for the company in communications, hardware, entertainment and localization and goes on to argue that Google is on the verge of achieving the holy grail of branding--being all things to all markets."
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Google's DNA

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  • Googlemobiles! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by yog (19073) * on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @10:53AM (#15105705) Homepage Journal
    This comparison of Google to stem cells is rather hyperbolic. After all, many companies out there do almost everything. Microsoft has its fingers in a lot of pies, too, even though they have been playing catch up in most of the areas that they don't yet dominate. IBM is probably another example; though they're known for their computers, they are very big in software services, chip manufacturing and basic research, and they have internal projects going on a whole lot of interesting stuff that never makes it into the market.

    Google does have the coolness market cornered right now, though. They have continued to do a great job on their search engine, and their email, mapping, and other web services are really well done.

    I would like to see Google truly act like stem cells and develop a better car. I am willing to bet that a Googlemobile would be truly innovative. Probably it would come with builtin navigation tools such as Google Maps but beyond that it would be self-parking, highly secure from theft (because it runs Linux), and get terrific gas mileage--or else use some other less carbon-generating source such as alcohol or direct solar power.

    On a less whimsical note, there's a tremendous potential for Google in branding nifty handheld devices that have easy access to the world's online knowledge, incorporate speech recog and the like. I suspect that Google's move into urban wifi is a step in this direction; if they can control the airwaves and the receiving devices they will truly have vertical integration. And Microsoft will be even more annoyed, which is probably a good thing.
  • Flash in the pan (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ThreeE (786934) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @11:01AM (#15105770)
    Google is just another dot-com flash in the pan. There is nothing about Google's business model that provides any more sustainable competitive advantage than any other firm. Is Google a success? Is it an admirable company? Yes -- in many ways. Will that change? Count on it.

    Treat Google like any other company: sprinkle its stock in a nice diversified layer over your other holdings.
  • Re:Good God (Score:5, Interesting)

    by truthsearch (249536) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @11:05AM (#15105816) Homepage Journal
    That's very insightful (sorry, no mod points at the moment :) Taking it a step further we thought back then that Yahoo had the potential to be amazing, but chose not to do anything really interesting. Today we see Google's potential. We'll just have to wait and see if they disappoint as well.
  • Google$oft (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Itsacon (967006) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @11:13AM (#15105867) Homepage
    Problem I see with google, is the way they're slowly creeping into everything.
    They've pretty much killed off all competition in the search engine business. Sites I used when I started using the web, like Altavista [altavista.com] and AllTheWeb [alltheweb.com] are now even copying Googles layout!
    In Holland the verb 'to Google' has actually been added to the dictionary, I believe.

    This isn't necessarily a bad thing, since Google is/was simply the best. It does mean however that pretty much all Internet searching is done through Google, which gives it the same possibilities for abuse as MicroSoft had a while back in the desktop PC market.
    Already the amount of ads on a Google page is increasing by the day, as is the amount of sites that use those Google text-ad. (any more people out there who have pagead2.googlesyndication.com blocked?).

    One of Google's CEO's has been heard to say:
    `We are moving to a Google that knows more about you.'
    And of course we've all heard of the 40-year cookies and what not.
    I'm not exceptionally paranoid, but put it all together and something in my head says `1984'... To those who want to be on the safe side, I heartily recommend Scroogle [scroogle.org]. Cheers.
  • by daVinci1980 (73174) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @11:17AM (#15105896) Homepage
    That's certainly true, and like Netscape, Google has one competitor that it should be especially wary of: Microsoft.

    When IE on Vista defaults the homepage to an MSN search page that actually works nearly as well as google, you have to wonder if most people (obviously not all people) will bother typing in google.com at all.

  • The nonsense about AdSense [timesonline.co.uk]

    Remember how in US airports a person could be denied to take a flight, but due to "national security" wasn't allowed to see which law was applied? "National security". Um... yeah. Right.

    Well, Google can remove your membership because of "Click fraud", but due to "trade secret" you weren't allowed to see the fraudulent traffic.

    Um... yeah. Right.
  • by aldheorte (162967) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @11:54AM (#15106209)
    Others have pointed out that this article is very hyperbolic, but Google itself is built entirely on hyperbole. It is perhaps the greatest con job ever perpetrated on Wall Street and the business community, and on its own terms. Look at what Google has become. Google is just Yahoo more than five years ago, just with a better interface and a stronger marketing brand.

    Let's look at the main services Google has rolled out: Search, News, Mail, Maps are the principle ones. All available on Yahoo fairly quickly after the Web took off. Image Search and Froogle - I'm not necessarily sure that Yahoo had these linked off their main site, but such search engines for images and pricing did exist back when Yahoo had reached critical mind share and Google was relatively unknown. It's arguable as to whether the improved interfaces are because of good design, or more capable Web browsers (I suspect the truth lies somewhere in between).

    This is not to impugn Google's business acumen. In fact, they have proven themselves most capable in this respect. Heck, they were even dictating to Wall Street how their IPO would go. But the bottom line is that Google has offered absolutely nothing truly new that wasn't available years and years ago when you look at the big picture of service offerings. They are simply another Web portal, which were in vogue around 1997 or so. I know people will come out of the wood work saying well they have this beta lab app that Yahoo didn't have, but, you know what? That's a beta lab app. Until they roll it out and no one else has it, big deal, and, from a business perspective, is there actually a revenue stream there or is it just a technical novelty? The only actual significant thing that Google does that makes money is sell text ads.

    The question now becomes how long can Google keep this marketing charade up before people realize it's just another Web portal and move on? So far, so good, but keep your fingers crossed.
  • Re:Good God (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jobugeek (466084) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @11:58AM (#15106248) Homepage
    Actually Google getting added to the S&P 500 might save it from such a crash. By being included, it is held by tons of S&P mutual funds. That combined with the realtively low number of shares available, I would expect Google shares to stay in the 250-350 range for quite some time.
  • by caffeination (947825) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:23PM (#15106471)
    Whereas the first case is a shameful example of government abuse of power, the second is a case of a private company applying their own rules that you have to consciously accept and sign up to. Nothing evil about that at all.
  • If Google succeeds, the terrorists win.

    Clearly, all Google searches must be forwarded through AT&T servers, and hence to the NSA. All this will be done at the expense of Google, after all, they're Google's packets, on the NSAs network.
  • Re:Good God (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jgc7 (910200) * on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @01:57PM (#15107229) Homepage
    being listed on the S&P 500 will do nothing to mainain the value of the company. The stock price is based on the price at which two parties are willing to trade. Mutual funds owing the shares does nothing to support the price, although the automatic required buying can have temporary, albeit a modest impact on the stock price.
  • by rantingkitten (938138) <kitten AT mirrorshades DOT org> on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @04:51PM (#15108731) Homepage
    First, Exxon's operating costs are surely many times what Google's are. Servers and bandwidth are cheap compared to moving oil tankers around.

    But second, and much more importantly, you're measuring power ("the most powerful company in the US") in terms of dollars. When you consider the number of people that use Google for information, suddenly it becomes much more powerful than a simplistic numbers game reveals. A slight tweak here improves this company's visibility immeasurably; a slight tweak there shoves a webpage into obscurity. Censorship, control of who sees what, determination of market visibility.. I'm not saying Google does or would do any of these things, but they could, and that makes them immensely powerful.

    Whether they ever become "the most powerful country in America" is almost irrelevent -- and that's probably not even their goal. But don't make the mistake of using raw revenue as a useful metric. Plenty of companies rake in billions of dollars annually, but ultimately don't do much other than act as useless middlemen.

Testing can show the presense of bugs, but not their absence. -- Dijkstra

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