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I have no clue what they're about to do .. but here's what I want.
1) 4 dimensional searching (time and space variants), integrated with GPS, mobile phones, PDA etc. Imagine..
2) A client application and an expansion of the capabilities of what I can use the 1GB storage for. Online backups? Photo galleries? etc etc ...
3) Adoption and promotion of open source technologies. They MUST promote a browser and a client if they have to win or compete long term with Yahoo or MSN.
4) Send us smaller adwords and adsense guys some freebies.. or give us $300 vouchers at the next pubcon.
But hiring people to create a directory? Not only do they already use a free one edited by humans, but it goes against their MO. From their SEC filing:
We will not shy away from high-risk, high-reward projects ... For example, we would fund projects that have a 10% chance of earning a billion dollars over the long term. Do not be surprised if we place smaller bets in areas that seem very speculative or even strange. As the ratio of reward to risk increases, we will accept projects further outside our normal areas, especially when the initial investment is small.
Giving their employees 20% of their time to experiment makes all of Google a massive laboratory for new speculative technologies. Unlike human-edited directories, they have to automate information retrieval, storing, organization and searching if they are to have high ROI potential.
They'll hire more PhDs to find spammers.
You don't need PhD to crack down on spam - this is where outsourcing to India (where Google now created base) makes sense:
Say cost of $1,000 per month for a pair of eyes checking suspected of spam websites.
One person should be able to check at least 1 suspected URL per minute. @ 60 minutes per hour * 8 hours per day * 20 working days it is 9,600 sites per month.
Hire 1,000 people to do the job there, and you get 9,600,000 sites checked per month - I can't mind stats but I think total number of domain names registered is around 20-30 mln.
Total cost is $12,000,000 per annum, sounds like a drop in an ocean of Google's money.
I know its simplified but I think in short term getting lots of cheap humans might help.
At the end of the year, they are going to be showing close to $3,000MM in cash and equivalents. A year from now, it will be closer to $4,000MM.
They are going to sit tight on that money until something really, really makes sense.
Since cash typically returns less than expected ROI for almost all companies, it tends to adversely affect the stock price.
Moreover, companies with high cash become good candidates for takeover.
Anyone actually think they will go on acquisition spending spree?
I think this is probably the only way Google will maintain the value of their stock after the initial hype wears off. Right now they're seriously over-valued, and the biggest problem is that they don't need public capital for anything. A really smart move for Google would be to acquire one or more already-profitable companies before employees are allowed to sell their stock. Any acquisitions would lower their stock price initially, but would ultimately allow it to bounce back to where it is now and maintain it - but more importantly it would cause a lot of employees to hold on to their stock (not only because the price is lower, but because of potential long-term gain) instead of selling the first day they're allowed to.
I can't really think of any company that would be a good move for Google to buy, but that doesn't mean they won't think of one. Google is good at what they do - searches. I would hope any companies they do acquire would be other search engines and not branch out into other areas too much. MSN is going to be a tough competitor, so it would be in Google's interest to buy up other search engines that already have PPC programs and existing contracts. I would hate to see Google get "yahoo syndrome" - Yahoo was once the search king and they just branched out into so many areas that now they merely provide a wide variety of mediocre services. Google has strength in search, and my advice would be for them to keep it that way and not try to tap into every other market on the Internet - let Yahoo and Microsoft fight each other over all of that other crap and just focus on remaining the King of search. Staying a step ahead of Microsoft is going to be a full time job - they need to do that more than worrying about other markets.
Would anybody be surprised if they got into the ISP business?
Yes - it would be a foolish move. Internet connectivity is slowly being re-allocated to two providers: The phone company, and the cable company. There are plenty of providers out there that Google could re-sell though, and that could be a good move for them. But actually running and maintaining an ISP themselves would be a bad idea.
Google Groups v2 [groups-beta.google.com]
it would be crazy to get into the IM business these days, but maybe just maybe, since it could have content related ad space and some Google employee will come up with the right proposal like Orkut (?chat.google.com?)
How about Google free & simple hosting, no cgi or php, just framed space with their ads? They could offer simple wizards to create pages for newbies. (?websites.google.com?)
How about get out of the search business and into the find business.
If I want a cheap mid-week ticket to Las Vegas, I don't see how Google searching for 1000+ affliate sites -- an dlisting them to me -- helps me at all.
What I want is a service that finds me the cheapest source with available tickets.
And so on for every other market sector I wave a credit card at.
(One way to get started is for them to enter the affiliate business themselves, and use their vast marketing power to insist on maximum discounts for the people they refer)
Comsider this future scenario: websites publish (in confidence to Google, perhaps) actual availability: "we have tickets LAX to NYC for 31aug04 @ USD750 if booked before 22aug04" etc -- hundreds of actual entries of that sort.
Google can then mediate...I ask:
"who's the cheapest for a round trip LAX--NYC--LAX preferred dates 29aug/3-sep"
And I get an actual set of answer and a time-limited sales voucher for each....If I visit the site within the time limit of the voucher, my seats are guaranteed at that price......If the promised inventory is not available, I get serious compensation.
Now, I'd use a service like that any day.