Google continues to innovate disruptively across the board with notable impact in mobile, imaging and corporate apps
2011 saw the ubiquitous Internet company further extend its reach and influence. Still primarily an advertising company if you look at revenues, Google’s areas of activity now extend into many arenas where it is busy disrupting the status quo and building new platforms. As it continues in its mission to ‘organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’ Google’s core search engine is very much the default for the majority of us. With over 70% of the search market, despite its evident linkages to advertising, to ‘Google’ has become embedded into many a culture’s vocabulary. As a data-driven technology company, Google’s core competences are very much technical rather than service orientated and a number of these are still unique and hard to replicate as the company continues to improve the user experience. Building on the original Page Rank algorithm’s influence in search, AdWords and AdSense have taken a dominant position in advertising and the likes of Maps, Books, News, Finance, Scholar and Mail have sought to emulate the same success.
With revenues continuing to rise at around 30% per annum with underling profit growth also double digit, Google is a highly profitable machine. Key to its recent success has been the extension of its portfolio of activities: Google Docs is getting traction in the corporate market; Google Circles is taking on FaceBook; Picassa is extending image sharing into new areas and Chrome is growing as a browser to compete with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. However a key focus is in taking advantage of the mobile Internet. At the core, the Google mobile operating system, Android, has been hugely successful in gaining a foothold and now has over half of the smart phone market in it hands. Building on this, just as the YouTube acquisition boosted Google’s video capabilities, many see the recent acquisition of Motorola, and specifically its patent portfolio, will significantly enhance the company’s position in the mobile market. With products such as Google Goggles, bringing enhanced image search and enabling the delivery of augmented reality via the mobile, many see that, as Nokia’s position has waned, alongside Apple, Google is very much the pace setter of innovation in mobile.