Where is Google going?

Google started off as a search engine as everyone knows. Over the years, it has branched out into many different avenues including cell phones, advertising, hosting, email etc. If I think of the information that Google has of me... My name, surname, address, telephone number, all my emails, my source code etc, they have a lot of power. Why provide services and products like App Engine, Gmail, Voice, Android, Chrome, Health, Finance etc for free?

Information is power. Looking at Chrome browser, Android OS, Gmail, these are a really powerful combination... Not only for the end user, but for Google in terms of information they have of you! There seems to be two sides to Google - One side which is aimed at the home user and the other at businesses. There is no doubt that Google has many offerings aimed at businesses which are easily understandable. There is the free Google App Engine service for the home user or small company, but a paid for service for larger corporations (Or businesses that expand into those requirements). And then there are the multitudes of applications that are aimed mainly at the home user such as calendar, Finance etc. These on the surface make less sense from a profit point of view - Where are they going to make their money from? This really has been a question of Google’s business model since the earliest days.

One of the richest men in the UK is Bernie Ecclestone, who made his fortunes by owning exclusive rights to advertising in Formula 1 racing. And in the same way, I believe that Google is positioning themselves in becoming the number one choice of direct marketing information. In the F1 case, no one has a choice, but if Google has the most reliable data regarding individuals needs and interests, then why would advertisers go anywhere else? As I’ve mentioned before, online advertising has already surpassed that of television in the U.K.

Lets look at a potential case assuming the use of the following tools by an individual:

Google voice,
Google Talk,
Google Appengine for hosting a business application,
Google Health,
Google Finance,
Google Adsense,
Google Android

Together, these products and services can offer a massive amount of information - from physical location, personal preferences in purchasing, contacts/ friends, interests based on search criteria, "owning" your business(in that it "controls" source code), knowing the details of your financial portfolio, health information and your day to day schedules. This is a lot of trust and a lot of power!

Google is becoming part of the fabric of modern society - in our personal and business space. Even though I “trust” Google with my personal information, I think that they should be carefully watched. Imagine the possibilities of data mining across all the data they have.



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