We’ve seen many successful products and acquisitions come from the Mountain View-based company. The search engine itself, the success and importance of which we don’t need to detail, Google Maps, Gmail, Google Earth (formerly known as Earth Viewer and developed by Keyhole), and Google Docs. The list of successes from the Googleplex is as long as your arm, but where is Google going now?
The most recent product to come out of Google has been the company’s own browser, Chrome. Positive and negative reactions from reviewers and users aside, it’s an interesting move from Google no matter what the outcome.
First glance would suggest that Google is competing with both Microsoft and Firefox, but the fact that Google continues to support Firefox financially would suggest otherwise. There’s a few theories doing the rounds as to why Google would want to support one of its biggest competitors. One is that Google doesn’t care who’s number one, as long as there is a number one. If there’s a browser that’s easy to use with a clean, simple interface attracting more and more users to www.google.com, which is the money maker for Google, then the company is happy.
Another theory is that the company is trying not to put all its eggs in one basket; if Chrome crashes and burns, there will still be an alternative to Microsoft, but why is Google so eager to support an alternative to Microsoft? In the early and mid-nineties, PC was spelled m-i-c-r-o-s-o-f-t. The company dominated the market (Apple played a much smaller role and was less of a threat) in those days. The late nineties rolled in and with them came Google. 10 years on we have Microsoft offering us operating systems, a search engine, a browser, email and MSN messenger and Google pushing everything but the kitchen sink, most notably, a search engine, email and now, its own browser.
Ever since Google Docs launched people have been speculating about a Google OS. However, the last year or so has seen a huge increase in criticism of Microsoft for trying to do everything at the same time. People have made it clear that they don’t want a monolithic Microsoft but are inherently excited about the prospect of a Monolithic Google. Many would argue that its quality and not quantity and that they’re perfectly happy with a monolithic anything as long as all projects, products and services are maintained to an adequate standard. Microsoft and Google are essentially playing the same game and when two companies are pushing the same product it’s everything but the product that matters.
Industry analysis aside, it’s been a good ten years for Google. In 1998 it was being run from a garage, 2008 and its home is a Mountain View complex with nearly 20,000 employees, who knows where Google will be in 2018.