In 2005 I did a Google analysis on my Universia blog in a section that disappeared from the net a few years later. And from an economic perspective, it is the innovative company par excellence, capable of generating value and sustainability.
(article published in Universia.es in June 2005)
The Internet is undergoing a quieter and more important revolution than it did at the end of the last decade and at the beginning of this one. Google has undoubtedly become the dynamizer of the Internet, offering new ways and approaches that advance by leaps and bounds and that will accelerate the development of the information society, perhaps just as some pioneers of the 90s dreamed of.
There is nothing more than to take a look at the blackboard (a site where the management staff points out fields of interest for Google's strategy). There it is possible to observe in advance steps such as the hiring of Vint Cerf, the role of Google in WIMAX, etc. A smart look at this board would be good for investors in the stock market, or analysts and visionaries on the Internet.
In less than a year, Google's projects have placed this company in a very prominent position in the Internet world. In recent months, Google has made announcements clarifying an ambitious strategy that, apart from commercial interests –there are and are very relevant–, fall within a very favorable philosophy, in my opinion, of the development of the information society and the Internet.
Google, something more than a search engine
Most of these recent Google projects would deserve quite a few pages, however I'll stop at an introductory enum:
Let's briefly discuss each of these steps, seemingly without close connection to each other.
The commercial profitability of the network
The competitiveness and robustness of Google's search technology is beyond question. A very flourishing industry - search engine optimization - is aware of this. In just one year, the permanent redefinition and adjustment of its search algorithm has become quite imperceptible, making it quite difficult to manipulate by the increasingly numerous army of SEOs around the world. However, in the same period its search engine has been imitated with relative success by Microsoft (MSN), Yahoo and others, although yes, without reducing appreciable market share.
But what has made a very substantial difference for Google has been its ability to make the network profitable. Thousands of small and medium sites have seen a secure and stable source of income with the adword-adsense programs that Google provided them through an effective and intelligent online advertising for advertisers, advertisers and users. From that perspective, it was relatively easy to project initiatives such as blooger or gmail that, at that time, we interpreted in a very partial way.
In any case, profitability has been the first big lesson. As is widely known, on the Internet it is not enough to make a great site, or provide an excellent service, you have to engineer its financial sustainability. Following its IPO and earnings and earnings trajectory, Google has arguably overcome a challenge where so many companies failed in the recent past.
It only remains to add here that the ability to generate new future income can be accentuated, even in the short term, with projects such as Google Local or the future Google payment system.
The world of knowledge
Scientists and university experts frequently advocate for the knowledge society. But in reality few companies implement it or exploit it intelligently. Google Print - Google's digital library project - whatever the interests of the publishing industries say, it is an unstoppable project and a preview of what the future of publishing will be.
While Europeans discuss a project with few ideas, the EU looks for ideas for the creation of the European digital library), this same week Yahoo launched its own large library project. Let us remember that Oxford University sees things clearer on the other side of the Atlantic and, we could assure that Spain is more advanced than the whole of the European Union with projects such as the Library of Learning Objects of Universia or the Virtual Library Miguel de Cervantes.
Google marks and will clearly mark the initiative. A large library requires a great search technology (perhaps it is time here to recall the example Google Scholar) and perhaps a convenient, fast and cheap access to the Internet does not interfere either. Something interesting to remember the promoters of the European Digital Library.
It goes without saying that whoever is behind a world digital library will have the door (and perhaps the key) to access to the distribution of a good part of the knowledge in this century.
Internet access anytime, anywhere
Internet access through wireless cities has captured our attention before. Google has reportedly claimed to have no interest in developing similar projects outside of the San Francisco Bay Area.
It is only necessary to say that Google has, through its Google Maps and Google Earth projects, a great commercial capacity to make new investments viable and profitable through potential applications capable of providing connectivity and effectively giving the user what he needs in each place and time (a restaurant, a plane ticket, or a pinch of knowledge! ...).
This capacity is closely related to the possibility of accessing not only informative content pages, but also the software programs that we need directly from the Internet, our next point.
An operating system on the Internet
An interesting step would be the beginning of 'WebOS', the web-based Operating System. Something that SUN Microsystem tried to introduce years ago into an office or business environment, but actually has greater applicability in a much broader mobility philosophy. "Modest steps" of Google like those of Gmail or Blogger, would now make much more sense.
In fact, these simple tools (blogs, mail ...) are accustoming and mentalizing users to access not only the content, but also the software through the Internet and to save our personal information on external servers that we access comfortably from the university or work site, at home, in a hotel, when we are traveling, or through the blackberry ...
A very relevant step whose importance is still too early to evaluate, but which, in principle, implies a change in perspectives when thinking about the future of companies like Microsoft and its products, as they are conceived today.
It would be interesting to see if this perspective is further favored by the creative capacity of free software (well demonstrated through Firefox) and the potential of Ajax. Today with this latest technology it is possible to use a word processor, as powerful as Writely or spreadsheets, calendars and other tools designed to be used on the web.
Regardless of the short-term reach of the Google - Sun Microsystem alliance, the truth is that it is pointing in an important direction, the scope of which can only be established with the passage of time.
Google with NASA
Until now, as we have seen Google dominates the world of online advertising and the enormous benefits it generates in a global field, it could give us access to the Internet and, through it, we search and find almost everything we need, be it information files, programs or storage of the information that we generate.
Its role in the Digital Libraries could be one more piece within this gear… Although it would also be so from its leading role in the knowledge society itself.
In this regard, one of the paragraphs of the Google-NASA agreement does not go unnoticed in which, in addition to the management and processing of large-scale data and distributed computing, it is literally stated "the convergence of biotechnology, infotechnology and nanotechnology ..."
Thus, it would cost very little to believe that Google does not leave to third parties the benefits of the silent revolution of the new semiconductors or of quantum computing at the hands of nanotechnology.
Or perhaps everything will be left in the AMES Research Center in which Google will design an R&D Technological Campus, which can become a good model of the Porterian philosophy. That is, what the ability to innovate can give itself within the knowledge society.
At this point, I'm not going to hide my admiration for Google.
Andrés Pedreño Muñoz