In 2004, at JupiterResearch’s defunct Microsoft Monitor blog, I took a contrary view about Google, by asserting that it is not a search company. “Search is a means to an end, and information is that end. Google monetizes the information through search and contextual advertising”. That Google is all about information should be obvious enough now, although perhaps not to many people outside the company 11 years ago.
In a post four days ago, but only seen by poor pitiful me this morning, Washington Post reporter Brian Fung rightly explains why Google will “win” with its push into telecommunications. He writes: “What made Google one of the world’s five biggest companies? Data…If Google forges into the wireless space, the search giant wouldn’t just be another alternative to Verizon and AT&T. It would control a vertical slice of this universe in a way that no other company does”. Yep. The information giant’s interest in wired and wireless information share the same destination.
Something else I posted in 2004 relates to what Brian observes in 2015. In explaining the reasons behind Google Desktop for Windows: “Google is shifting the focus away from specific technologies, like Windows, to the greater utility of web-based information. This shift grows in importance as people increase the number of different type devices they use to search the Web—not just computers but also PDAs with WiFi capabilities, cell phones or smartphones, among others”.
Regarding Google offering cellular service and WiFi calling, Brian conjectures:
Combine that with its forthcoming smartphone, the Android operating system and the Google-owned apps that ride on top of it all, and you’d get a formidable silo of hardware, software and services. Not even Apple, with its famously tight grip on the iPhone, can claim so much control over the user experience…The more people it connects to the Internet, the more people use Google services—users who in turn generate more data for Google’s ever-hungry algorithms.
The cellular service is widely rumored, which means nothing until confirmed. But, directionally, the pieces fit: cellular, fiber, WiFi calling, and contextual content consumption. As I have repeatedly stated: The post-PC era is a myth. There is no such thing. We have entered the contextual cloud computing era, what matters to you is available anytime, anywhere, and on anything. No company on the planet better understands context or delivers more suitable services than Google.
Context is in the company’s corporate and product DNAs, going back to the original algorithm and later the search keyword business model. As information grows more ubiquitous and available more places and consumed more different ways, so must Google be. That the company seeks to provide the pipes to supply information should surprise no one.
What I see Google working towards—slowly and methodically—is infrastructure that ensures everyone has access to fast Internet (and that explains some of the crazier-sounding projects like Project Loon and SpaceX). In the late 2010s, Google could become even more necessary than today when combing cloud services, mobile apps and operating systems, and pipes delivering Internet access.
Photo Credit: Jon Russell