Think about this for a moment, Google mail, YouTube, Google book search, soon to come Google Wave, and a plethora of other stuff, the only thing that Google is missing is a distribution contract with RIAA and the MPAA. With Google Checkout that might be one way to get the lagging payment system by Google into higher gear.
Kevin Kelleher over at GigaOm has an interesting story about how Google does not want to become a media company, they want to be the media company that we all interact with. While the ambition is not supported, there are enough backend systems and support systems within the Googleplex to actually make something of Kevin’s idea. Kevin states on GigaOm
So much energy is needed to tailor web pages to myriad platforms — rival browsers, news feeds, mobile devices and, soon, tablets — that there is little time left to do the harder work of making the experience of consuming news online an emotionally satisfying one. Which it isn’t yet. And that’s why Google’s Fast Flip announcement this week was so interesting. It’s time, the company was saying, for the web to offer a news interface that rivals magazines and newsprint. Fast Flip isn’t anywhere near to doing that; its gallery of pre-loaded news page images is so crude that initial reviews were pretty harsh. But with Fast Flip, Google tipped its hand to a much broader, ambitious strategy: Google has said for years it doesn’t want to be a media company, and it doesn’t. Google wants to be the media company. Source: GigaOm
This is not a general paranoid idea about what might be lurking as a Googley idea, rather one that approaches the more logical outcome of what can be accomplished by Google. The only bad part is that Google is approaching middle age as a company, and if you have not read The Upside of Turbulence: Seizing Opportunity in an Uncertain World by Donald Sull (Comes out soon, I got an advance reader copy and could not put this book down) then you will not know what that means. Google owns a large number of daily visitors, and have become the defacto search engine. But that simply discounts the many other things that Google has done to increase the value of their company. From Double Click ads to Wave to YouTube Google owns a distribution and advertising platform that no one (despite Yahoo’s and Microsoft best intention) can catch right now. Middle age will be hard on Google if they stumble. But the momentum they have been building means a resurgent Google once the recession is truly over and people go back to work and dig themselves out of the mountain of debt that they have incurred in this latest bust cycle.
It is quite possible that Google will become the media company that we interact with, but then they will also have to deal with the ambitions of Amazon, Apple, Wal-Mart, and the way that the music and movie industries conduct business. Not to discount Microsoft and Yahoo, but Google’s true competitors are going to be Amazon, Apple and Wal-Mart in the industry for media. This also sets up a great way for RIAA and the MPAA to see what the market will bear in terms of pricing structures, cost structures, and the prices that people will pay. In the foreseeable future, consumers will not truly benefit from this competition until the market matures and everyone agrees on the value of the digital product.
In all Kevin might not be that far off, and with all the systems, competition in place, and the ability to make the moves that are required, Google might just become a major entertainment and media distribution platform/system that will rival the bittorent platforms that are slowly being killed off.
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(Cross-posted @ TechWag)