Friday, November 21

Google's Strat and Today's Development

I recently had a conversation with Grandpa and Uncle Tim about Google and their strategy, specifically when it comes to internet apps. I won't bore you with the long and slightly manic argument I outlined for them, but suffice to say that I think Google has decided to forsake the old model and build their own. Let's look at free mail servers as an example. Services like Hotmail and Yahoo! mail were big innovators, in the fact that they took email service out of the hands of the ISP and provided free mail service for anyone. They traded you an email account for the right to advertise to you in a captive setting. However, this trade limits inherently limits some of the features that they can provide to their customers. For example, free mail forwarding - if they forwarded my mail that was addressed to my Yahoo! account on to my Gmail account they lose their ability to advertise to me which, in their eyes, leaves them with an empty deal.

This is just one example, but I believe that Google has it's eyes on a bigger prize. Google decided that they will offer not only free online services, but they are going to provide the best, easiest, most powerful, and most compatible service that they can. And best of all, they are going to encourage you to use it however you suits you best. If that means checking your email online so that it can be surrounded by their ads (semantically targeted based on the content of your message) that's great, but if that means you check it using your third party mail client, they are fine with that too. Not only fine with it, but they will provide you with a comprehensive step-by-step tutorial on how to set it up and get the most out of it. Why would they do this. Because what they want more than you seeing their ads, Google wants to become an such an integral part of using the internet that you don't even notice. They want to own your internet experience, and they are not going to even ask you for it. They are setting up a world where it is in our best interest to lay it at their feet, and thank them profusely for the right.

Let's look at what I mean, when I use email, I use Gmail. When I make a schedule, I use Google Calendar, when I read blogs, I use Google Reader, when I want to get an answer, I use Google search, when I want to communicate, I increasingly use Google Talk, when I write a blog, I use Blogspot (a Google product), when I need to watch something, I use Youtube (a Google product), when I organize pictures on my computer, I use Picasa (a Google product), if I view any page on the internet, Google wants me to use Google Chrome as my browser… Believe me, this is VERY limited list, I could easily go on and on. I have deliberately tried to limit this to products that I use every single day. And how did they earn this right? Simple, they offer the best product out there absolutely free.

Maybe this sounds a little ominous, some of you may be saying "My gosh, it's Big Brother, I had no idea." That is not at all what I mean, I am a huge Google fan, and will continue to be, even while honestly believing that they are trying to become so intrinsically fused to our experience of the internet that we don't even think about it any more. Why am I not afraid? Because, I believe that they are giving the industry a huge kick in the pants which is currently and will continue to inspire others to explore competitive advantages in a way that benefits the customers first, not simply their immediate bottom line. Google can be the giant who inspires the man in the boy to step up with his stone and sling and take his best shot.

Wow, I guess I will bore you with the bulk of my argument. Sorry for that, but their strategy is so inspired, I love to tear into it.

Finally here's the reason I was actually inspired to write this blog

Google just did something that I find exceptionally unusual even for them. Not only is my Gmail account fabulous because of it's unprecedented compatibility and ease of use, they just delivered creative and appealing themes for spicing up your gmail service. Today they were blogged about on the Google Blogoscope here, and I'm crediting them because I want to steal their pictures. Note that a few of these themes are actually dynamic meaning that their appearance is conditional, for example, Mindy's favorite, the beach theme is a nighttime scene in our nighttime hours, and bright and beautiful during the day.

If you would like to add one of these great new themes to your Gmail account simply log in and go to settings. There you'll see a themes tab on the right. Pick the one you like and let it rip.

As a post script other Google products that have occurred to me as I finished this blog


  1. I can see you using that green and black nerdy theme :) I do love that the beach theme changes from light to dark. Very impressive! Google rules

  2. Nice post. Now might be a decent time to snap up some of that "value priced" google stock :)

    I agree with your description of their goals - I also think they like to just take a shotgun approach and see what takes off out of all their products.

  3. I was confused at first by the themes on my Gmail. I was all like, "Why does it look different?"

    It's like a twitch now, as I play around with settings I didn't even know existed until now. I'm not sure how long I can keep something the same, lol. Remember my ever-changing desktop backgrounds freshman year? It's still like that.