I tuned into the Gillmor Gang today and caught them in the middle of discussing Google’s recent “Stop Copying Me” plea against Microsoft’s Bing (video on that below). But that’s not what I wanted to share today. In the 30 minutes of Gillmore Gang, there was about 1 minute of something that really caught my attention. Robert Scoble brought up the point: Google is making this plea to take away attention from their fight with Facebook. That’s when it dawned on me. What is Google doing??
We all know google, its that lovely company that has that giant search engine and offers email. They’ve actually done really when developing enterprise tools like google voice, chrome, gmail, google apps, calendar, docs, sites, checkout, picasa etc, etc…. All offered for free. All of which are also offered in likeness by a variety of other companies specializing in each. Google has also done well developing effective ad placements in search – it’s primary revenue – and search has been their focus for a long time. Or has it? Google developed Android and took significant space in the mobile industry. It seems piece by piece Google is taking over the world. But what is their position in the market? Are they an enterprise geared company or social?
Google is getting a big run for it’s efforts in all industries. Most of its tools are great for Small Business as enterprise tools. But Microsoft is enterprise king! They’ve been selling to big business for a long time. Bing – whether it’s a copycat or not – has primary placement in a big market. Microsoft owns a big chunk of the enterprise space, which runs windows, which has internet explorer, which defaults to… [bing sound] BING! As for social, Google Wave was a bust and Buzz is a flop. Facebook is the face of social media and has equal if not better information and demographic tracking and advertising options than Google.
Google also doesn’t do much advertising. The only thing they seem to advertise hard is Chrome and Android – the most significant advertising to the general market anyway. When Google launches something new, they spend a lot of time sending it out to the tech geeks. The everyday consumer is usual the last to adopt or hear about it. That’s where Microsoft and Facebook have a one-up. They know their customers. Microsoft has been selling to enterprise for years (and they’ve redeemed themselves in the consumer world) and Facebook knows everything about anyone who’s on it.
What would happen if Bing took over as the search engine? It’s scary to think about if you work for Google. The challenge Google faces is with it’s positioning. Until now it’s been THE online entity. It’s brand has been “simple”. Nothing fancy and no sex appeal – unlike Apple. Its been hard, geek for geek development. It does control the SEO space, as it sets the rules for that space, but where will it go from here? I think Google needs to make a change. Declare something new. Not give up on search, but develop something that catches fire and spread quickly – get back into touch with it’s innovation that starting it all.
I love Google, but gmail still isn’t as popular as it could be and as much as Google focuses on Gen Y, it doesn’t have any sexiness about it. Just flirtatious… It does mediocre in all the other space (expect search), while other services do just as well if not better because they specialize in it. The interconnected features that Google offers are also becoming threatened by open API’s. Social platforms are more than willing to share with each other and they’re growing because of that collaboration. So what now for Google?