Google: Core competency or conundrum?

Weidert Group Staff
Posted by Weidert Group Staff on May 11, 2010

Posted by: Tami Wessley, VP, Client Services, @TamiAtWeidert

When you think of Google, what do you think of? Used to be, Google stood for the best search engine on the web – if you wanted to know something, go Googled it. Google is even a verb in the dictionary!

Today, Bing, Yahoo and even Ask are taking a bite out of Google’s search engine share while Google seems to be making huge inroads on Apple with its Android devices outselling iPhones in Q1 2010. It begs the question, what is Google trying to be?

A quick list of Google activities includes:

  • Search engine (Google)
  • Web browser (Chrome)
  • Cell phone platform (Android)
  • Cell phone device (Nexus One)
  • Android market application supplier
  • Social Media forums (YouTube and Wave)
  • Enterprise system (search appliance & mini)
  • Office systems (calendar, documents, email)
  • Navigation systems (maps and turn-by-turn GPS)
  • Shopping assistant (Goggles)
  • Translator 
  • Online store gadgets (checkout)
  • Advertising (Google Ads)

Everyday, there are more “things” Google stands for. And they’re good at them! They’re facing the same issue many businesses face – “if we’re good at it, why not?” The reason is because it dilutes their USP – the one thing they’re known for above all else.

The argument could be made that Google is evolving into the experts at all things information. If that’s the case, there are still things like the phone devices and gadgets that they need to walk away from. They’re fun and cool but they don’t add unique value or information, they just deliver it.

We often have this discussion with our clients:  who do you want to be to your customers? What is your long-term strategic goal? Who are your customers (and please, don’t say everybody)? These questions do not always have easy answers, as Google is finding out.

What do you think? Should Google just keep cranking out new, broad innovations or should they take a step back and evaluate what made them successful in the first place?

Topics: Inbound Marketing

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