Posted by: The Organ Harvester on Oct 01, 2010
According to some reports, Google has $30 Billion on its balance sheet in cash that they're not doing anything with. Some have suggested that Google make Twitter an offer they can't refuse and buy the micro-blogging web platform before Twitter becomes too big.
This reminds me of the Pepsi-Coca Cola wars and how much Coke must have regretted not buying the Pepsi company in the preceding years when the company was on its last legs. It took the firing of a senior Coke marketer who subsequently ended up at Pepsi for Pepsi to grow the legs to rival Coca Cola. What's the lesson? Google should be thinking ahead.
Google have for the most part failed in the social media game. The attempt at organic growth for applications like buzz and wave have yet to register a trickle as they compete for users. The main problem as I see it is that every other social media platform tries to copy the other in functionality and for the users its a case of why use something new when it does exactly what your first platform does?
Google though are trying hard to get the subscribers, with Google Call Phone (only available in the States) allowing for cheap and free phone calls, PC to phone. But then again, who doesn't have Skype?
And then there is the curious case of Google making a number of copyrighted literary works available. The publishers are already facing a shift in power from print to electronic books without Google coming in and ruining everything.
Personally Google is starting to lose the plot. They developed this great search engine that changed the way things are done, how websites are put together and how we look for things, but other than that, where to from here Google?
Has Google just run out of ideas in its attempt to replace the desktop and now plays a reactionary game? Is it just a case of control as much as we can until we can figure out a way forward? In the meantime while we earn $2 billion on that $30 billion we already have every year.
At the end of the day, most of these online entities are looking for one thing, increase usage on their platforms, increase the number of subscribers. Use the data to attract advertisers and make money. The real problem is that Facebook is now bigger than Google in terms of sites most visited and it is not unthinkable that sooner or later Facebook will replace Google entirely. So where to for Google? From Operating Systems to providing free e-books, Google seems to have lost direction. If they are to get ahead, they will require something of a revolution in thinking to leave the likes of Facebook and Twitter fighting for scraps in the online advertising world.