The force of Google

I’m getting a little obsessed with the Hungry Beast graphics videos.

Here’s a fantastic one on the many tentacled creature which is Google:

Ignoring the comparisons therein to said firm’s possible resemblance to Luke Skywalker’s father, it does prompt an examination of what exactly Google is good at (i.e. where its core capabilities lie).

Is it “enabling efficient information access”? “Data sorting and transformation”? “Communication facilitation”?

Is it something as workmanlike as “server optimisation” or “coding”?

How vague can we be while still assisting strategy formulation: “Opportunity recognition?”

Given their relatively rare (for .coms) ability to actually make money out of all this, principally through advertising, perhaps we should be just as focussed on their “salesmanship”?

These are important, but slippery questions for strategic analysis.  As the firm continues to diversify (i.e. build an empire), watch these capabilities develop and morph.

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5 Responses to “The force of Google”

  1. Steve Sammartino Says:

    This is brilliant. Love the art, and the message.

    it does seem scary when looked at closely. The only thing that makes me not worry is that no company in the history of commerce has ever been able to be all things to all people, simply because size creates the inevitable “administration factor” and it gets harder to do everything well. The average intelligence of the company gets back to normal, and the public nature of the organisation creates more short term decision making to meet market profit expectations.

    But has there ever been such a young company get so big so quick?
    Steve.

  2. Ben Says:

    I think ‘organising info’ is still the #1 thing that Google is good at. I still put the success of the Internet in penetrating into everyday life down to their search engine – before Google, sure we had Yahoo, Hotbot, Alta Vista but they were all universally terrible for finding information.

    I agree with Steve though – they are getting huge and innovation is starting to taper off. A lot of their big ‘innovations’ are actually just companies they have bought out – Gmail, Docs, Maps etc were all purchased technologies. Recent technologies they have developed in house such as Buzz and Wave have not been so successful.

  3. Tom Osegowitsch Says:

    We do know that certain discreet parts of their business are not making money. Such as Youtube. Ditto for their application software business, from memory, although this is a fairly recent branch of the Google tree.
    While some/many of these business may still come good, at least for the time being it appears that most of these businesses are propped up by the company’s search engine business, which would seem to be a good indication of what they are good at.
    The fact that they are branching out into all manner of different businesses may not so much be evidence of some tremendous core competence (a capability boad enough to make you a world beater in many different industries) but simply another case of old-fashioned, misguided diversification.
    Large amounts of free cash flow are tempting for any CEO. In this case, with Google always having been billed as a “growth story” (and not paying any divis to shareholders), the temptation (or need) to diversify in search of growth is even greater. Naturally, sustaining growth rates becomes exceedingly tricky as the company becomes large, thus diversification is an obvious “solution”.

  4. Peter Says:

    Hey Andre

    You may (or may not) find this article/blog post interesting:

    http://www.engadget.com/2010/03/25/google-cutting-in-android-carriers-manufacturers-on-ad-revenue/

  5. Richard Says:

    Google’s unquenchable thirst for information is understandable considering that once next generation networks (NGNs) and technologies arrive in an interconnected mass (i.e. 4G, WiMax and FTTH), personal and business information will be the cornerstone of personal and business cloud computing services. The best example of this is the potential of social networking profiles acting as service access portals. By this I mean accessing, for example, a home music subscription service via a facebook account. Making social networking profiles the primary access channel means services can be bettered tailored to customers’ needs and done so automatically. This means value is maximised for the customer while the cost of service delivery is minimised. The point of impact of these benefits is on both the top and bottom line and so profit is maximised for service providers. If Google can effectively guard the route – information – to this pot of gold then they will make a ridiculous amount of money. The one problem for them in the end will be avoiding antitrust violations.

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