eWEEK at 30: Google's Wealth Brings Diversification, Public Scrutiny

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2014-02-22 Print this article Print

Scott Strawn, an analyst with IDC, said Google quickly started to rule the nascent search market when it began in 1998 because the company's founders and engineers looked at search in an innovative way—by identifying how articles linked to other articles in order to rank them and retrieve the best results for users.

"That was a similar process to how important scientific documentation is understood and done," said Strawn. "The more citations a document has, the more important it is generally considered to be. Essentially, that's the approach that Google took and that's what differentiated them and allowed them to break out."

At its core, though, despite all of its side operations, from the growth and promise of the Google Cloud Platform to other innovations such as Google Earth and the Project Loon Internet balloon experiments, Google's bread and butter remains with user queries and delivering the right results at the right time for each user, said Strawn. "They have grown beyond search but their greatest method of monetization is still from search."

In fact, he said, not only has Google pretty much owned the search business for the last 15 years, but the company has "really been seriously involved in every way that we connect to the Internet, through the entire pathway from users to the data center."

Google business is going beyond even more than that, said Strawn. "At an even higher level, they work to connect your brain to all of the information available on the Internet. It doesn't have anything to do with devices or screens. It has to do with the transfer of information."

That's where Google gains the power and wealth to do all the other things that it does in the world of innovation and research, according to Strawn. "Up to now, most of what we've seen from Google is really based on enhancing that whole process of being a more prominent player in each of those points along the pathway. It's hard to argue that they haven't done a good job of it. If you look at their market value, it's pretty incredible."

Dan Maycock, an analyst with OneAccord Digital, said that Google's business philosophy has been similar to that of Japanese automaker Toyota over time. "Ask Toyota what their business is about, and they will say transportation and not cars," said Maycock. "If you talk to Google and ask if their business is Google Glass, self-driving autos or some other product, they would say, 'no, our business is information.' So they'll do whatever it takes to continue to drive toward building better information, and they'll go into whatever business that makes sense in order to collect more information."

In essence, that's how Google is able to make sense of all of its diverse products, innovations, experiments and directions, even when competitors can't hold a candle to its activities, said Maycock.



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