I don’t mean to pick on Google – in fact, I couldn’t live without them – but as a marketing geek I often look at where they’ve come from, what they do well, and try to see where they’re going. It’s getting harder.
Google started in search and kicked butt. They moved into video — a huge move — but it, too, was a search effort: searching for video. Google’s newer applications targeting Microsoft users are free web-based word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software. As a lay person, all I see here is a move toward Microsoft-busting, or doing evil to the evil, from the “do no evil” company. I’m not quite sure where this one fits in.
Google’s next move was to get into the advertising business buying DoubleClick, so they can put their hands on the controls of “monetization” grail. And today, a story was leaked to the New York Times that Google plans to offer open source mobile software within the year that will compete with Microsoft Mobile and help Google own cell phone apps, including advertising.
Once Google lost its master of search mantle, I lost my understanding of who they are. Now they are just a big, brilliant company on a mission to make money in as many different ways as possible.
When creating the brand plan for Zude (our company’s social computing platform) our chiefs were driven by one thing: giving the “people” web pages and making it easy for them to publish. Our technology is meant to free users from hard-to-use web publishing tools. Zude is about freedom for all Web users. Sound noble? It is. It’s a mission. And as a single mission, it keeps us focused. People root for us. Google had a product mission — search — and a rooting section, but once they moved off that mission some fans have started trickling out of the stadium.