Hey Google! What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

in Google

You can't be EVERYTHING! In my experience, companies that grow in many different directions fall and before you know it they start spinning off those appendages and going back to their roots.

I look at Google as one of the big four. Who are they? Google, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon. Let's look at some similarities and some differences....

1. Google started as a search engine company.

2. Microsoft started as an operating system (DOS then Windows)

3. Apple started as a maker of computers

4. Amazon was an online bookstore


1. Google is still king of search. But they now have an operating system (Chrome), computers and hardware (chromebooks, tablets and phones) and have their own media store for books, music and video.

2. Microsoft is still king of the PC market. But they now have a search engine (Bing), computers and hardware (Nokia phones and Surface PC and Tablets). No real media outlet to speak of. 

3. Apple arguably makes the best hardware on the market. They offer media through a captive market on iTunes. They also have what many would rate as the best operating system. No search engine though.

4. Amazon is now one of the largest media outlets on the planet. They also stormed their way into the hardware market with Kindle. Rumors are there for new phones too. They rely on Android operating system although they tweak it for their own flavor and usability. The search engine is specific to their online retail market place but it's nothing to sneeze at...it's awesome!

So where is all this heading. Well...who and what is missing? Social media! Enter Facebook, Twitter.

1. Of the big four, I think Google is ahead in this category. Whether you like it or not, Google+ is here to stay. The integration of all of the Google Apps with Google / Android devices will or should be enough to keep most people from switching to their competitors. Case in point: I just bought a Google Nexus Tablet. Within minutes it was up and running with all the same apps I'm using on my Android phone.

2. Microsoft doesn't really have any sort of social media. They do however have an ace in the hole if they can figure out how to tap and grow that market. XBox is a great way to pull younger people into the Microsoft fold. But it won't be the games that do it. Games are usually multiplatform. It will be how Microsoft works with the Xbox "community". 

3. Apple also does not have social media and the ability to interact with other members in the itunes community is limited to reviews and stuff like that. 

4. Amazon IS  a social media network specific to content rather than users. Don't believe me? Start reading reviews on Amazon and look at the conversations happening there. It has become a MAJOR goto place for online product reviews.

So, to answer my own question - Google, What do you want to be when you grow up? Answer: A interactive social search network. The link used to be the standard referral for websites. We're seeing the power of links diminish somewhat. Results in Google will be based on referrals (beyond simple links). Think about this. Google wants to be able to answer your questions. The best way to do that is to determine who is the most credible resource for the answer (authorship) and / or who has the most positive referrals (reviews and links).