Today’s Montreal Gazette has a great piece exploring the “Risky Business of Google.” I shared a wide range of opinions and sound bytes with Jason Magder as he prepared this column. Here are some of the ones he used:
“Many of the new initiatives that Google launches can still somehow be tied backed to monetization from search advertising.”
“With the social network movement, people are now finding new ways to get information online that doesn’t require Googling it.”
“Goldman said he believes there is no limit to Google’s growth. He believes the company will figure out how to bring a social context to searches, and can have success in virtually every product it develops. He sees the company as becoming an all-encompassing life tool, that will power everything from televisions to computers, phones and cars.”
“Google has the advantage of having 5 million advertisers behind it, so it can go into pretty much any market it wants and find a way to monetize it with its slew of advertisers.”
To balance my seemingly eternal optimism, Magder includes some points-of-view that are a little more skeptical about Google’s future.
“If they lose relevancy, they’ll lose everything.” — Christian Russell, Dangerous Tactics.
“The company has spread itself too thin.” – Ian Lurie, Portent Interactive.
“Google’s biggest problem is that it has consistently failed to produce any new lines of business apart from keyword-related advertising, which still produces over 90 per cent of its income.” — Matthew Ingram, GigaOm
“Maybe they can’t innovate anymore. It takes them meetings and processes to make decisions. Things don’t get launched as quickly.” — Fred Wilson, venture capitalist.
“They also tried to get into social networking and failed, so they’re not impregnable,” Ken Auletta, Googled.
There’s definitely no question that Google will face increasingly bigger challenges in the coming years — from Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and itself as it grows bigger still. For what it’s worth I think Google’s future will bring new ventures that are at times risky (as in the imminent launch of a new social network), at times frisky (as in the frivolous pursuit of self-driving cars), and at times briskly (as in the pace of innovation and new product releases).
Let’s just hope we never see Larry or Sergey emulating Risky Business too closely…