Google speaks…are you listening?

An anniversary of sorts has come and gone recently…did you catch it? Google turned 10 years old. Just think, in less than three years the company will be a teenager. More remarkably perhaps it surpassed one billion dollars in annual revenue…and with more than 13,000 employees – at this stage. Wow.

The big news over the weekend was the upcoming Google phone, which was announced on Monday as “Android platform.” And so as to not create a slow news day, they also announced some of their initial strategy in Social Networking, called OpenSocial.

Did you notice the timing and common messaging around these seemingly unrelated (at first glance) events? Let’s scratch a bit deeper.

> Both announcements talked about an “open platform”
> Both discussed the power to “connect and collaborate”
> Both are seeking “disruption” of a business model

No news in that except extending the model, right?

Likely the Google phone will mark (perhaps) the imminent shift from proprietary wireless networks to IP-based public networks. Apple did a fine job of straddling this with the iPhone (yes, I got one ;-)). As you know the voice traffic on an iPhone goes out over the AT&T network, while the data uses a “most convenient available” method of EDGE data networks and WiFi.

So let’s connect the dots shall we? Apple has their rev 0.9 iPhone out with the 1.0 (or even 2.0) in the labs and scheduled for release in less than a year (general market belief). Google is revving up their marketing machine, complete with the following quote:

“Today’s announcement is more ambitious than any single ‘Google Phone’ that the press has been speculating about over the past few weeks. Our vision is that the powerful platform we’re unveiling will power thousands of different phone models.” —Eric Schmidt, Google Chairman/CEO, Android Press Release 11/5/07

WiMax is also increasing its global footprint by the minute. And more and more connectivity is free, or really “loss leader” might be the fair way to look at it. But loss leader to what? The model that Google has been (not so quietly) working on for the last 10 years: The ubiquity of INFORMATION – not just the movement of data…hmmmm.

After all, connecting people and providing a service is really the goal at the end of the day isn’t it. Making our lives more “productive, fun, and efficient” (that’s what the marketing fine print says anyway). Something about Web 2.0, right?

So why not loss leader Social Networking as a part of this as well? (No, Steve Ballmer, you can’t cancel payment on that big check MSFT wrote to Facebook). Since we have no real model (outside of the fringe “viral market for commercial purposes” aspect) for Social Networking, we may as well make it “free,” right?

So if you are trying to figure out which stocks to short, and which ones hold….don’t ask me.

And if are wondering about what this has to do with IT in Transition….everything.

Mostly it just affirms what we already know….we are just a transport layer for things to come. Back to work now to translate that notion into long-term differentiated market value.

Think about it — this company didn’t even exist 10 years ago! Now many of us – including some of the tech giants I’m sure – have our Google Alerts set to Google, and watch every bit of news from the “plex.” Talk about disruptive!

Here are a couple of other blogs on this issue:

David Berlind at ZDNet
Ben Worthen of WSJ
Rob Beschizza of Wired


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