As the noise generated by the induction of brand pages into the Google lineup has died down, many pundits and commentators are back to labeling Google+ as a one trick pony with no direction, or a Facebook wannabe that stands no chance. Just like the Klout debacle, you learn a lot more about the individual commentators than you do about the network because the posts are filled to the brim with opinion, but are mostly re hashed from the original story from the company’s blog, or lack any factual basis at all.
It’s often said that Google is in the business of world domination. While I wouldn’t totally disagree, I think it’s important to consider the bigger picture here. Just like Google+ will allow your friends and other people with similar interests to advise your search results, the stable of Google products and investments are all integrated vertically, horizontally and diagonally. When I think of the Google properties that have the most value I see answers; answers to what Yahoo! does, answers to what Facebook does, and answers to what apple does. Google sees it as an investment, and they are betting that our technology use will continue to grow. If everything goes their way, what will the world look like in 10 years?
“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” —Western Union internal memo, 1876
In Google’s future Wi-Fi has become so prevalent that the government has started giving it away for free in most cities, and the cost is minimal throughout rural areas. Speeds have continued to increase to the point where everything can be run from the cloud. Google sells Chromebooks for 80$ that consist of a monitor, keyboard, and processor. They have plenty of RAM, but very little internal storage; they don’t need it because everything is hosted on the cloud. Google’s plan is to have the Chromebooks wholly subsidized by advertisements within the next five years, and they are on track to make it.
YouTube has grown to encompass an interactive channel on television sets that is ad supported, and quickly becomes the most popular channel on television. Small production companies spring up that take advantage of advertising similar to CPC that produce higher quality YouTube channels. Network production companies begin screening new series on YouTube and the shows that make it to network TV are an amalgamation of user created media and some network series of exceptional quality. 80 percent of viewers watch a YouTube channel or streaming on demand service such as Netflix instead of traditional cable.
“The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?” —David Sarnoff’s associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s
Your mobile device has all the capabilities of a modern computer and Google tracks you on a GPS grid. If you are close to a business that subscribes to Ad Words you will be targeted for location based advertisement. A local juice bar alerts you to a discount and you use one of Google’s proprietary algorithms to match your tastes with possible juice mixtures. After you’ve selected you scan your mobile device and pay with Google Wallet. Instead of paying for an impression Google now takes a cut of every sale they generate, even if you were planning on getting juice anyway.
Home phones have been replaced by Google talk and Google+ hangouts. Phone numbers have largely been replaced with e-mail addresses and you’re capable of taking a call through the TV. Navigation relies on Google Maps, land surveys are now done with Google Earth and business uses Google’s cloud based version of Office. They are all integrated through your Gmail account which tags the data that Google continually collects. You’ve begun routing your paychecks direct deposit into your PayPal account (which Google acquired a few years ago) so Google can track your spending. At the end of the year they file your taxes for you and they pay your bills automatically every month.
“Google’s not a real company. It’s a house of cards.” -Steve Ballmer
The only time you’re ever alerted to any of this is when you’ve set up a Google alert, or if one of your products that run on Android needs maintenance. I know you’re thinking cell phone, but this product could be anything from your refrigerator to your car. Products have started to sale better when you connect them to the cloud, everything from microwaves to bar stools that can count patrons. Of course you get a copy of all the data, but so does Google’s data servers which have grown to occupy a whole city.
I know all this sounds absurd, but it isn’t all that new. Bill Gates designed his house to run off many the same principles, and Microsoft would have had similar aspirations if they were on top at a time when the cost dropped to reasonable rates. Google has an architecture drawn out of ways their products can be integrated, but they are ultimately looking to the future. It’s obvious because while there are many ways to integrate these technologies now, the picture will be much clearer 10 years from now.
“Some say Google is God. Others say Google is Satan. But if they think Google is too powerful, remember that with search engines unlike other companies, all it takes is a single click to go to another search engine.” -Sergey Brin
“The only thing Google has failed to do, so far, is fail.” -John Battelle