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Google: The End Of An Era?

Jack of all trades

I am a huge fan of Google. I had a feeling from the begining that they would become the dominant force they became. In a world of unreliablility, Google was a solid pillar at least in terms of stable systems.

Google’s strength lies in the fact that it is an advertising¬†company creating connections between people whether it be consumer to business or business to business. It does this (and this may be debatable) by creating an agnostic system rewarding the highest quality providers with the most traffic. It has also done a great job making this system ubiquotous (case in point, my right click doing spell check on Google to check that spelling).

While Google is clearly in a strong position in many businesses for example the Android mobile operating system, I feel there are some real issues under the hood with search.

In February, it was revealed that Google lost 2 points of market share to Yahoo when Firefox switched their default search to Yahoo (see: http://www.zdnet.com/article/yahoo-search-share-gains-on-googles-losses-thanks-to-firefox-deal/). That means it wasnt important enough or the user did not detect (Yahoo is smart enough to make the UI/UX Google like to avoid issues) that this was not their usual Google search results. This is a big deal. Then there is the upcoming Safari deal where slowly Google’s wide net is suddenly becoming smaller. Additionally, mobile search is clearly not being dominated by any one player yet and Google has yet to show anything too sticky there.

A more recent troubling sign has been Google’s recent moves into competitor territory in the lead generation business with moves into Car Insurance, Mortgage Compare and Health results among others. This is not their core competency and only takes them even further away from where their focus should be.

On a day that WPP discloses that last year they spent $2.9b on Google ads as their biggest partner (see: http://www.businessinsider.com/wpp-says-google-is-its-biggest-media-partner-2015-3) it may be wise for CEO Larry Page to refocus on core competencies.

While its nice to see Google investing in Life Sciences, Self Driving cars and other things, it would be better if this would be to complement Google’s core instead of providing a Plan B investment if Search continues on its trajectory.

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