Google and your paycheck

I hosted a Facebook event last year where I remember the final panel being about the future of Facebook. This was right around when their new targeted ad service had come out (which eventually failed), but there was a lot of discussion about that, lots of marketers in the room chatting about what the strategy should be.

I remember Gab Goldenburg was in the room, and I asked for some reason “Who trusts Microsoft more than Google?” and vice-versa. Almost everyone trusted Google more, except Gab and me. It was an interesting moment.

The reason I suspect Gab and I didn’t trust Google as that Microsoft is basically a sleeping giant. They’re not going to bug you if you walk by them quietly and don’t try to stick a sword in their leg. They’re cool, you can trust Microsoft inasmuch as, well, they’re inert.

Google, on the other hand, will eventually eat your lunch.

We see this yesterday with Wikia being basically made obsolete, and likewise with Wikipedia and Knol. We see it with Google Maps (Mapquest) and with Google Docs (Microsoft Office) and many more. So if you think you’re safe, seriously, I’d start thinking otherwise. Microsoft is safe; people just think of them from their Internet Explorer days when they were in court. Now it’s Google instead, with some parts of the EU trying to block what they’re doing but the US just opening the door.

Thing is, I’m not really sure what the answer is, because they also have the backing to make everything better. I strongly support and its Executive Director Larry Brilliant, and every service they go against, we benefit from improvements. Heck, even Chris and I are using Google Docs to work on the book; it’s the best collaboration tool we have available for now, so why wouldn’t we?

Anyway, not sure what the solution is here, except maybe, start looking to defend your business model or changing it. Eventually it may force it to become free and you’ll be left wondering how it all happened so quickly. Just sayin.





5 responses to “Google and your paycheck”

  1. Deb Avatar

    many things free now – you think they’ll all be free? interesting. so what will replace Google docs? curious – cause you know something will! and who is the next Google or Microsoft? Cause there will be someone bigger, bound to happen. just rambling here — thanks!

  2. Gab Goldenberg Avatar

    Hey Julien,

    Your point about Google eating your lunch is exactly right – one of the main things I distrust about them.

    Another reason not to trust Google is that they have far too much power, and that power is concentrated amongst people who, in a broad sense, control the web – webmasters. Look at your own usage of Google’s products. How much personal information does that give Google on you?

    They know:

    – Your opinions and ideas from Gmail, and Google docs
    – Where you eat, go clubbing, stay in foreign cities etc from Gmaps
    – Who you’re hosting with through partnerships with certain hosts
    – How much you may be earning, if you use Google Spreadsheets and/or AdSense
    – Where that revenue is coming from, based on the ads on your site
    – How much traffic you have and how much/little you spend to get it from AdWords, GAnalytics, Website Optimizer
    – What you’re charging for direct ad sales through G Ad Manager
    – What you might look/sound like through Youtube, as well as your tastes in audio/video, and potentially some of your politics (e.g. you watched one politician and 5-starred his speech, then watched the competition and 1-starred it).

    – They’ve censored stuff in China. Considering how much information they currently control/distribute, that’s downright frightening.
    – They keep buying out the little guys. Urchin – Analytics;
    – They profit by selling clicks to unethical people in all sorts of sketchy niches, not to mention being hypocrites by selling clicks to link brokers who Google tell people not to use.

    p.s. Thanks for the link :).

  3. Hugh McGuire Avatar

    speaking of sleeping giants …

  4. James Dean Avatar

    Google already owns my ass…

  5. Evan Avatar

    The only advantage that Google has is, they create an environment for the true hackers to live and thrive. The company model doesn’t make Google successful, their developers do. Hackers and highly skilled developers have been behind almost all of the great leaps in technology for the past 50 years and yet they live in the shadows because their culture is against vanity and self-promotion. To say that M$’s success was the product of Bill Gates’ work is ludicrous. All he did was take all the credit (and all the money) for the work of a lot of very talented people.

    Hackers are very unique culture who have a genuine love and interest in the work they do. Microsoft made their name by working these people to death at the break of the personal computer age and built a strong foundation of fanboys to live off their breadcrumbs.

    The main difference between Google and M$ is, Google creates the perfect work environment for that specific group of people. Whereas, M$ exists solely on the fact that most CEOs and CTOs are too lazy and chickenshit to learn a how to work in anything other than Windows and Word, Google thrive by being leaders in the world of open source software development.

    Imagine a culture where money is insignificant, and earning respect by being extremely intelligent, talented, and (most importantly) accomplished is the only value there is in life. That’s the hacker culture and Google has it’s fresh pick of the best and brightest minds from MIT and other ground breaking institutions all over the world.

    They aren’t taking over. They’re just trying to make everything better because if they didn’t, no one else would. Try to imagine what it would be like if M$ succeeded in monopolizing the internet with IE and you were forced to use Windows live to search the internet? and, If you want a taste of the future just look up Google Android.

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