Sunday, January 23, 2011

Google: Why despite a tough year, I believe in its longetivity

Google says "I will survive".
Ok, it might sound like tom-toming, but honestly, if others won't acknowledge your cleverness then you have to do it yourself.

Eric Schmidt is stepping down as google's CEO. And here's what The New Yorker has to say on how Google's 2010 year has been: "...Google was becoming defensive. All of their social-network efforts had faltered. Facebook had replaced them as the hot tech company, the place vital engineers wanted to work. Complaints about Google bureaucracy intensified. Governments around the world were lobbing grenades at Google over privacy, copyright, and size issues. The "don’t be evil" brand was getting tarnished, and the founders were restive."

Only, I asked if the same was about-to-happen to Google in December 2009 on this blog. The date was Dec 27, 2009. Now everyone seems to have asking the same question. 

But I think I have moved on. Given all that has happened in 2010 - and yes, I include Facebook's incredible 50 billion dollar valuation in it - I think Google is going to regain its pre-eminent position as a tech company. 

There are two reasons why.

The first is Google's Watch This Space campaign and its efforts to promote online advertising. As I wrote in a blog entry in October last year, Google has figured out that it needs to help the "creatives" to make online advertising an attractive, measurable and exciting opportunity, something that it is not right now. And it has thrown its might behind making that possible.

Only someone who is in the media - jobless like me because print is not selling, and online media is not profitable - knows that everyone needs smart, online advertising to take off. And Google is focussing its energies on convicing advertisers that it is possible.

Already, in the last one year, I have seen several sites move on from ugly banner ads to more attractive, interactive and expandable real media ads - something Google talks-of in its campaign. The clutter seems to be giving way to neater, more navigable sites with attractive, non-intrusive, advertising. See Londonist (which has revamped itself so attractively), or Time Out (which too looks so much neater after its revamp) or Times Crest in India. 

Yes, social media will be the way to go for small businesses. But big businesses - the colas, cars, fashion brands etc - will still need the big platform to attract customers and fight out competition. They will still need advertising and that is where the big, indecent bucks lie. Small businesses may begin with promotion over social media, but at some point they will have to go beyond the friends-of-friends and reach out to the masses in a single sweep. And attractive online advertising will be that platform, and Google is ahead of others in making that happen.

The second reason is Android. Yes, we love the Iphone. Sid & I bought one. But we don't like the way Apple straight jackets you into an Apple personality narrowing your choices to its own software and hardware. We have heard good reviews of Android from our tech friends - it is easy, dependable and most importantly is customisable with different products. Between Sid & myself our second smart phone will probably be the Android. If Sid & I - who are very mainstream buyers - are coming to this conclusion, so must many many others. Sales figures certainly seem to support this prognosis.

I think once Iphone has milked its first mover's advantage, Android will overtake it by simply being a less suffocating buyer to deal with.

And this is why I say: more power to google, my friends. As we say in Hindi: It is a "lambi race ka ghoda" (a horse meant for long races).

No comments: