Essay by shlazzUniversity, Master'sA-, July 2010

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Google: History and Potential


In Google's early days, simply searching the Web was a daunting technical challenge. Today, Google conceives of "search" as something much broader and more grandly ambitious--no less than helping people access, analyze, organize, understand, and grapple with all the world's information. That kind of audacious long-term challenge is really exciting and inspiring to the most technically brilliant minds. Making money and achieving professional status are significant for them, of course, but so are the psychic rewards of the work itself and its potential impact and visibility out in the world. (Vise & Mark Malseed, 55-115)

Google's foes have a much firmer hold on customers, argues Seth Godin, a well-known Internet consultant and editor of last summer's widely distributed online book What Should Google Do? Competitors have troves of personal information about users that they draw on to customize products, ads, and services--consider the way My Yahoo brings you information on everything from your portfolio to fixing your house.

They will probably use that same information to tailor search results. Google, meanwhile, knows little more about you than what you are currently searching for. (Elgin & Hesseldahl, 34-36)

Page says he doesn't spend much time worrying about competitors: "That's not what we're about. We think of what we do as adding more value to the world." Yet investors--stockholders and the limited partners in Google-invested venture capital funds--are growing nervous. And no wonder. Members of those groups count as insiders who by standard IPO procedures will probably be required to wait at least six months before cashing out. Google may well be worth $20 billion when it goes public; but it could be worth much less by the time they can sell. (Vise & Mark Malseed, 55-115)

For Google's millions of users worldwide, and especially for its...