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Friday, March 16, 2007

Google honeymoon drawing to an end?

We love Google
We all love Google, right? The cuddly upstarts who have created an internet revolution (not to mention a multi-billion dollar business) from humble student beginnings. Most would agree that this has been achieved thanks to their huge creativity, their willingness to "think outside the box" and - this is in my opinion the most important factor - the huge added value they provide. More than any other company, they have invested their success back in creating valuable, useful and unrivalled free services for the end user. This can be a precarious balancing act, but I think that this is what has most contributed to their success. Think how often you use a free Google service on a daily basis, and you will see my point.

Google backlash coming?
I have been thinking for a while, though, about how it is only a matter of time before a serious Google backlash happens. You know what I mean - it always does happen. We humans are fickle, we get emotionally involved in someone or something, and then when things get strained, the relationship turns to hate (I'll save the talk about relationships for another post!) Just think of any popular public, or TV characters - last year we loved them, this year we hate them! I will name two examples (one British, one American):

Jamie Oliver
Orange County Choppers

See my point?

So how long before we see the end of the honeymoon, and a more familiar corporate-customer relationship with Google, such as that "enjoyed" by Microsoft?

Google foul of regulators
Today, privacy organizations welcomed steps to be taken by Google to limit the quantities of private data that their search indexing servers store (see the BBC story here). While this is not yet a major sign of serious crumbling in the company's public image (nor the first, remember the Chinese search results censorship story?), it makes you wonder.

How long before the love affair ends and Google matures into a full-on corporate monster, with all the pressures and forces which this involves, and we begin to regard Messrs Page and Brin with the same love/hate ambivalence as we do Bill Gates now?


markowe said...

P.S. Bill Gates predicted the end of Google's "honeymoon period" over a year ago now: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4584150.stm

That was probably more like wishful thinking on his part, but if he was right, then it's certainly a protracted honeymoon! Something like 6 weeks in the Bahamas!