It started out as a software company with a funny little name. Then it conquered the world of search. And now it's out to conquer the rest of the world.
Who isn’t Google taking on these days?
The company has taken on Microsoft’s once-dominating Office suite, putting comparable software online — at no cost. It's locking horns with Apple in a battle for the mobile application market. And now, amazingly, it's challenging Amazon by offering an electronic book service.
If there’s a market out there, you can bet Google is either in it or planning to be.
Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief of Search Engine Land, explained the search giant’s mentality. “Google views access to the Internet as core to the company’s mission to organize the world’s information.” As such, he points out, it becomes fair game to the company to enter any market that relates.
“Browsers are too slow? We’ll launch our own. Computer OS too clunky? We’ll launch our own. You have no access? We’ll push free broadband.”
Beyond merely organizing information, Google’s ultimate goal is to sell advertising. And to do so, the company is prepared to enter as many markets as possible.
“Google’s ultimate goal is to get as many eyeballs looking at its targeted advertisements as possible," says PCMag.com mobile analyst Sascha Segan. "Billions of those eyeballs are now on mobile phones. If you’re ignoring mobile phones, you’re blind.”
This explains the Android platform, an operating system for cell phones and netbooks designed to complete with Windows Mobile, the iPhone’s OS, the Blackberry platform, Symbian (which powers Nokia mobile phones) and countless other options.
Then there's Google Voice, which some say may be the company’s effort to create its own phone network. AT&T doesn’t believe Google or its claims that Voice is just an innocent call-forwarding service, so the telecom giant recently pressed the FCC to start regulating Google Voice. AT&T argues that "even if some aspects of Google Voice do not qualify as a telecommunications service as Google alleges, they would nonetheless qualify as an 'information service' under the Communications Act."
Segan thinks Google may have bitten off more than it can chew, not realizing the intense regulation surrounding telecommunications services. Still, is voice a smart market to tackle? “Voice is one more point of access,” he explains, “so if they can find a way to take over that point of access, that gets them another way to show ads to people .”
But where might the company go next? Small appliances? Google-powered cars? “It’s difficult to know what field Google might enter,” says Sullivan, joking, “What’s next, no electricity? Here’s some free power!”
Segan believes people tend to attribute human feelings and motivations to Google, which he says is the wrong way to look at the company.
“They’re a business, they’re not a James Bond villain!” he laughs. “They don’t want political power or control of the universe, they just want a lot of outlets for their advertising partners!”
Jeremy A. Kaplan is Science and Technology editor at FoxNews.com, where he heads up coverage of gadgets, the online world, space travel, nature, the environment, and more. Prior to joining Fox, he was executive editor of PC Magazine, co-host of the Fastest Geek competition, and a founding editor of GoodCleanTech.