In the past decade, Google has become pervasive across any online experience. They have launched dozens of products – some very successful (eg. Gmail) and some not so successful (eg. Knol).
Many of these launches showcased their impressive innovation capabilities. This week Google took two steps to further entrench their brand into your internet experience. The first was the launch of Google Buzz and the second was the announcement that Google will move into the ISP sphere with a super high-speed network.
Initial reviews of Google Buzz, which seems to be getting more attention than the ISP news, haven’t been great. Users say it is just another tool that doesn’t add much value, and competitors have highlighted that Google is late to the Social Media game. Both of these points are true. What is intriguing is future potential of Google Buzz. The Google brand is not about one time innovation, but about ongoing improvements through innovation. Buzz might be a bust now, but if the Google brand lives up to its promise it could be trouble for Facebook and Twitter down the road. I know this hasn’t happened with all their launches (eg Knol), but social media is too important and too lucrative for Google to ignore. It is at their own peril that they ignore Buzz.
Google becoming an ISP has even bigger implications for internet users. Google makes their money almost entirely through small, targeted ads. The obvious benefit is that with a better connection, people will be online more and thus click on more ads. But equally important is that controlling the network will give Google access to mounds of data that competitors don’t have. Google’s ads have been successful because they are so targeted. This additional data will make that targeting even better, and will likely produce products that we can’t imagine yet. Either way, a big win for the Google brand and their consumers.
This has been a big week for Google. They are integrating forward and backward: forward from a platform to find information into the conversation between users and backward into the underlying infrastructure and technology.
What do you think? Will Google Buzz eventually be a success? Will you sign up to an internet connection provided by Google?