What is google? If the first thing that comes to mind is “search engine”, you’re not alone – nor far from the mark. 96% of their $38B in revenue last year came from web searches. Years of fairly intense competition from Bing, Yahoo, and a lot of others hasn’t really dented their position at all.
If you take a closer look at where google gets its money, it’s nothing more than placing ads in those searches. After all the hype about the online world the business model for google – and facebook – is not significantly different than the one developed about 150 years ago for newspapers and duplicated as broadcast technologies were developed. The only difference is that google is in the business of curation, or using other people’s content rather than developing their own.
My hunch is that William Randolph Hearst would be impressed, but should anyone else? Not given the threat by mobile devices spurred in part by google itself. Google’s biz – curation for profit – has one really big enemy to deal with, and that is google.