As a professional SEO company, we blog quite a bit about Google. Given that Google owns somewhere between 80-90% of the organic search traffic, they are a giant. You could argue a monopoly. Of course, their real business model is advertising. While people think of them as a search engine, they make their money just like any other media company - from advertising.
Here at Hubshout, we've been fascinated by their growth and innovation. Not only because so much of our business revolves around them, but also because they are fascinating to study. There have been the innovations in the core search technology, although those have not been that big because it has been so strong from the beginning. Sure, many who live deep in the SEO services world will argue with me on this point. But from the mass-public perspective, I'm seeing the same white search screen I saw in 2003. What's been more interesting is to watch how they have been branching into other areas of technology and commerce.
Several years ago they moved into email. At this point Gmail is very ubiquitous. Although I think they still call their software beta, it is extremely mature and usable. I have used many, many web based email programs over the last 13 years. There are none that compare to the functionality and usability of Gmail. You can use your own domain name. You can run the entire email system without any client-side install through a standard web browser. They have all the basic features such as signatures, vacation alerts, auto forward and spam filtering. But they have integrated in voice and video chatting directly into their platform. At Hubshout we've found that Gmail chat has replaced AIM / Trillian easily. And Gmail synchs with my Blackberry and Chad's iPhone. All this for free if you don't mind the ads on the side of your email.
Not too long ago, Google released a web browser. With that move, they are not only competing with Yahoo, but taking on Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. While I still believe Firefox is far superior, this was a bold move similar to their entry in the email space. They have released an operating system for mobile devices called Android. We have not seen much from this yet, but I believe we will shortly. Here they are taking on Apple's iPhone.
Today there is a great story talking about Google's move into a full-on operating system. See the full story here. With this move, they are marching straight to the desktop where they will have full control of the user experience, not just what the user does in email or browsing the web. It's a natural extension, and a good move for Google. We've seen the grave difficulties that Yahoo has had trying to gain back market share from Google. I do wonder how Microsoft is going to repel the search giant now that it is encroaching on the Operating System software market.