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  1. #1
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Interesting Read
    Google's Grand Ambitions
    Its lips are sealed, but its moves rattle everyone from Microsoft to eBay

    In years past, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT ) could freeze competitors and send investors scurrying just by uttering the name of a market it fancied. Today, Google Inc. (GOOG ) is the 800-pound octopus that is filling potential rivals with dread and envy.

    In typical Google fashion, the company chose an unusual moment -- the sleepy doldrums of mid-August -- to shake up the tech world with a flurry of announcements. First, Google confirmed that it had quietly acquired mobile-phone software startup Android Inc. Then came the surprising news that it would add $4 billion to its cash war chest with a secondary stock offering. And then on Aug. 24, the search giant announced it was getting into the instant messaging and Internet telephony businesses. No wonder tech watchers from Silicon Valley to Bangalore are all wondering the same thing: What the heck is Google up to?

    No point asking the Mountain View (Calif.) company. Google, as usual, is about as talkative as a telephone pole. But in dissecting the company's spate of recent hires, investments, and acquisitions you can catch tantalizing glimpses of where the search giant could be headed. Talk about ambition. Google appears to be contemplating forays into everything from Wi-Fi Internet access and mobile devices to operating systems and e-commerce.

    Google faces serious challenges of course, not least because it is playing catch-up in some of these fields. But if the company's outsize ambitions come to fruition, Google would suddenly be on a collision course with some pretty heavy hitters. The company is already challenging Microsoft and Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO ). Now it seems to be getting ready to stomp on the turf of such giants as eBay (EBAY ), Motorola (MOT ), Nokia (NOK ), SBC Communications (SBC ), and Verizon (VZ ). And if you're a tech startup working similar technologies as the savvy folks in the Googleplex, you have two basic choices: Plan to be acquired -- or get run over. "There is a new fear and caution about how Google will use its war chest," says Chris Shipley, producer of the DEMO Conference, where startups strut their stuff.

    If the search behemoth goes ahead with its myriad initiatives, it will be Google vs. Everyone. Here's a glimpse of where Google may be headed:

    GOOGLE VS. VERIZON Playing a role in how consumers connect to the Net is an important step for online giants. It helps deepen the link between Web surfers and Internet companies while providing a window for these outfits to showcase products and services. Google clearly covets such a role, but it has shown no interest in mimicking the access businesses of other tech titans -- piling up millions of subscribers like America Online (TWX ) or following Yahoo's lead of partnering with telecom giants.

    Google may be showing its hand in this arena with a couple of little-noticed business moves. In April, Google teamed up with wireless startup Feeva Inc. to sponsor a Wi-Fi hot zone in San Francisco in which Google appears as the start page. Google says this is all part of its mission to make access to information more readily available, but it won't comment on other Wi-Fi moves. Some analysts, though, believe it would make perfect sense for Google to bankroll Wi-Fi access points, not only allowing Google to get more users but also to target ads better locally -- a huge growth area. "Google wants there to be more search moments," says Esme Vos, editor of the MuniWireless Weblog and a consultant to cities deploying Wi-Fi solutions. "This would make a lot of sense."

    Meanwhile, in July, Google invested in Current Communications Group LLC, a company that offers broadband access over power lines. The company has been rolling out its service to a few markets in the U.S., including Cincinnati. Verizon and SBC take note. These moves show Google is "really interested in affording people the greatest possible access and speeds," says Scott H. Kessler, an equity analyst at Standard & Poor's (MHP ).

    GOOGLE VS. MOTOROLA Former insiders say Larry Page -- who, with Sergey Brin, founded the company -- has ruminated in years past about offering a Google mobile phone, allowing users to search the Net easily and get data from the device. Although a fiercely competitive space crowded with companies like Motorola and Nokia, the barriers to entry are getting lower all the time, thanks to a passel of contract manufacturers from Taiwan and elsewhere eager to make phones cheaply for anyone interested in breaking into the market.

    At the least, recent acquisitions show the company is working on a software platform for mobile phones. In July, the company snatched up the secretive startup Android, founded by Andy Rubin. Rubin's previous startup was Danger Inc., which developed the popular Hiptop communications device. Although little is known about Android, one person familiar with the company says its engineers at one point had been working on an operating system for mobile phones.

    Google also buttressed its mobile-software arsenal with its May acquisition of Dodgeball. The startup has developed social-networking software for mobile devices. A Dodgeball user, for instance, could contact a group of friends in a particular vicinity with a single message on a mobile phone. Google declines to comment on how it intends to utilize the Dodgeball and Android technologies.

    GOOGLE VS. MICROSOFT Google has been poaching talented engineers with a wealth of expertise in two Microsoft strongholds: browsers and operating systems. One source familiar with the company says some of these hires are working on an Internet operating system that might run on top of Linux and could compete with Microsoft's Windows franchise. Although any such offering may be years out, it seems plausible based on the talent Google has lured. In recent years, it has hired several architects of Microsoft's .Net strategy -- an attempt to expand its operating system dominance to the Internet. If Google is indeed contemplating an OS, it would amount to an attack on the very foundation of Microsoft.

    Google's raid on browser talent has been just as important. In the past year it has hired several top developers of the Firefox browser, a well-regarded but distant challenger to Microsoft's Internet Explorer. "If I'm Microsoft, I'm watching these guys co-opt my desktop," says Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Jupiter Research. "I would be concerned about... the sheer power of their presence."

    GOOGLE VS. eBAY Google has not wowed anybody in online commerce so far. Its shopping search site Froogle has not distinguished itself from the pack, and it garners only a fraction of the visitors that go to competing services, such as Yahoo! Shopping. But Google concedes that it is working on an online payment platform -- which could put it in direct competition with eBay's PayPal service.

    Another possibility: Google could eventually allow individuals to post items for sale on Froogle. Google's recent hiring of Louis Monier, former director of eBay's advanced technology research, has only added to such speculation.

    It's a good bet Google is pondering all of these possibilities and more. The real question is what projects will get the resources inside Google and see the light of day. With uncertainty like that, Google will have the rest of the tech world on edge for some time to come.
    Copyright 2005, by The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. All rights reserved.
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    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  2. #2
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Brings to mind the old marketing addage ... Location Location
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  3. #3
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Brings to mind Rome... (not roam...)

  4. #4
    Internet Cowboy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    Brings to mind Rome... (not roam...)
    That is what I was thinking. Irons in too many fires can mean they all go out at once and it all comes crashing down sooner or later.
    I say stick to what you do best, stay lean and maximize profits. Google obviously does not see the world that way. It's just a matter of time before this blows up in their face.


  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    Same thought I had, too much going on all at the same time.
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  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador
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    But they have billions in their war chests and so much man power, the top brains from all over the world.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    Lightbulb
    It would be great if they would come up with truly innovative stuff instead of google mail/instant messaging/diet soda/whatever.
    I do think the google earth/keyhole program is very cool.
    Or maybe they could solve world hunger or create world peace. ha

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador AddHandler's Avatar
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    UncleScooter - "stay lean and maximize profits."

    The greedy don't think like that.. the greedy just want more more more until their crazed ambitions drive them to the mad house.. or in this case the poor house..

    This is like fishing with ten poles at once.. the object is to catch more fish.. but you end up spending most of your time untangling your lines and baiting hooks..

  9. #9
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
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    Thanks for the good read Haiko, I bought some google shares last week based on Jim kramers recomendation that the stock is worth 650 a share. Its nice to see what they are up to.

  10. #10
    Internet Cowboy
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyfalcon
    Thanks for the good read Haiko, I bought some google shares last week based on Jim kramers recomendation that the stock is worth 650 a share. Its nice to see what they are up to.
    WOW...$650? I have seen and can understand $350 based on earnings and sector potential, but $650 is strong. I'd like to hear his logic to explain that figure.


  11. #11
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    Sounds like Google is getting into areas that do not sit naturally alongside what it understands, and hoping that throwing cash and bright brains will do the biz.

    Google has never need to do much in the way of marketing unlike, say Microsoft, and all these new areas sound like they need effective marketing to get market share.

    It may be that Google are reying on their brand image to sell in other areas, but brand image take years to build and can be destoryed in months if not weeks but something unseen or badly planned/executed.

    Les

  12. #12
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
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    Uncle Scooter You asked for it and I found it. He estimated 650 before they asked for a second filing. It seems that he has changed his mind and made the number 630 lol http://www.thestreet.com/_tscct/fund.../10238787.html

  13. #13
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
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    Haiko, Thanks for this thread..

    No one knows what the hell's up with the beast.. but I think AddHandler nailed it with his post.

    Potential damaging consequences of losing focus and being too greedy are real...doesnt matter who you are.

    GBM

  14. #14
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    If you really think about it, I think the paths and directions Google is taking in the various industries is indicative of what they want to do ... offer a complete soup to nuts service of find, click, buy and deliver of anything and everything ... they, with all the $$ they have are one upping what amazon did and the best of it all is they are doing it without any inventory.

    Google will be the ultimate salesman - Think about it.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  15. #15
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    So what's next? Will they buy FedEx? That would pretty much complete the cycle!


  16. #16
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    Don't think they're going to the poorhouse or crashing like some think will happen. I don't see anything wrong with being ambitious either. It wouldn't suprise me to see people buying Google computers with a Google OS with Google search built in the future. They have a lot of smart people there already, have no problem recruiting the best talent even from their competition and have no shortage of money. I know recently they bought a cellphone software company and I remember a 60 minutes report about having some sort of attachment to the cellphone where you can scan stuff like at a grocery store and get the prices for that item at all the grocery stores in that area. Don't know if that purchase was for that, could be anything. So don't see any crashing, just more growth.

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    I hope Google doesn't lose site of its search, which got them where they are. There have been some signs lately of instability at Google Search, or perhaps it was all part of the constant flux these days. Who knows.

    I'm with some of the others, I think Google has too many things going on at the same time. That surely can create problems with staying focused on the important things. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

    Perhaps what's important now will not be so important in the future...

  18. #18
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrustNo1
    I remember a 60 minutes report about having some sort of attachment to the cellphone where you can scan stuff like at a grocery store and get the prices for that item at all the grocery stores in that area.
    Maybe they see "price comparison" as the wave of the future. Should make all price comparison site owners happy. :-)
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  19. #19
    Member KrisKringle's Avatar
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    Here's another interesting article: (any ideas for naming their first OS?)

    How GTalk plays into Google's identity strategy -- Home Web Technology

    With the release of GTalk this week, the blogosphere has been talking about what it all means. In fact, there's been way more talk than "yet another messaging system," in world with 3 or 4 too many already, deserves. Clearly, Google is positioning itself as an Internet operating system capable of displacing Microsoft as the integration point (to use a Clayton Christensen term).

    To do that, Google needs an identity strategy. My guess is they've got one, although they haven't come right out and said that. GMail created unique user IDs on the Google network, which GTalk leverages. I've started calling them GIDs. The GTalk announcement extends that and strengthens it. As David Card wrote:

    What's critical about IM isn't real-time text messaging but the Buddy List as a communications/presence management hub.(Link is ancient history for geek/vision cred.) You manage your buddies and buddy groups and their relationships to you (and each other), shifting those according to what persona you're inhabiting (work, home, fun, shopping, etc.) and what communications are available to you or you want to make available to them. Then broadcast that selectively. The company that can teach consumers how to do this, and own that management tool is in a very powerful position.

    What's more, the GTalk messaging system is based on XMPP, the XML-based protocol that powers Jabber. I think that's significant for a couple of reasons:

    Jabber open with lots of clients that already work on GTalk. I started using it with iChat (on OS X), using my existing GMail account, and with no download or configuration on the Google side. It just worked. The significance is not only more ready adoption. More importantly, this plays right into the "Google as an integration point for various commodity components" meme. The integration point is where the money is made–just ask Microsoft.

    XMPP is bigger than just instant messaging. First, as we've noted it's a presence network. Starting to build presence into other apps on Google is now possible. No reason, for example, that every Google group couldn't have it's own presence cues for every member with a GID. But even beyond presence, XMPP could carry lots of information besides just chatter between friends. Event notification or reputation information are a few examples.

    Its nice to think of Google as a bunch of smart people just having a good time and seeing what fun toys they can build, but that misses the fact that they're also a multi-billion dollar company that has to fulfill a lot of investor expectation or die. Doing so requires a strategy and Google's strategy is based on becoming the Internet OS and integrating commodity components (i.e. Linux, OS X, and Windows). Google can't build an integration point without an identity strategy and their identity strategy has to include synchronous messaging and presence–things they get in spades and on the cheap from a IM system built on XMPP. This is a smart move on Google's part.

    http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=1783
    He who knows others is wise; He who know himself is enlightened.

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