Monday, December 26, 2005

The rise of the Google empire continues.

In the past week or so Google announced it had bought 5% of AOL. This is another in a somewhat long stream of acquisitions and investments (Outride, Applied Semantics, Blogger, Picasa,, Keyhole, Tivo, Monster to name a few).

Google's acquisitions are not just limited to companies, however. It has also been steadily building its human resources over the past couple of years. Vint Cerf, Eric Schmidt (Novell), Kai-Fu Lee (Microsoft), Sean Egan (GAIM), Ann Mather (PIXAR), Omid Kordestani (Netscape) to name a few.

So what does all this mean? Some say Google's revenue stream is too dependent on what is (was?) its core business - online advertising. The recent change in strategy (most of it due, I would say, to the recently acquired members of its management team) is an attempt to widen its base and build a better corporate Google.

They have had some public relations disasters too though - Google Print is one. But they are slowly moving towards getting it right. The Google Foundation has been setup which focuses on global poverty, energy and the environment. Expect some "big" announcements in the not too distant future which will help their PR machine overcome some of the negative press.

Getting back to business, Google still dominates the search engine. There is competition, but none that has the branding power of Google. You don't do a search on the internet, you "google" for it. Online advertising was a natural progression to gain revenue from the search engine, and this revenue stream has been continually enhanced with new programmes e.g. Google Adsense.

But now I feel Google wants to be known not as a search engine, but a technology leader - it is already an internet behemoth, but the push is now on to converge into a larger space of the technology market. Google Maps, Google Mail, Google Video, Google Transit, all point towards this move into a wider converged world, and there is more to come!

In the months and years ahead, expect Google to evolve into a bigger technology behemoth, as long as it does not lose focus.....or go bust (:wink:) I think they have the right management team in place, and expect more key appointments in the near future. It will be interesting to see in 5 years time how much of a Googly world we end up with.

Feliz Navidad and best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season!

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