Like a lot of other bloggers (at least I’m assuming I’m not alone here) I have been waiting patiently today, for any sign of Google’s long-rumored “GBuy” service. A report was published a couple weeks ago by Forbes, that said today would likely be the day Google would launch the service.
According to bloggingstocks, eBay, who would feel the largest effects of a GBuy service, was doing better today:
So after eBay hit a 52-week low yesterday, mainly on fears of up and coming competition from Google, investors had time to cool off and rethink the ramifications of this play. EBay stock gained back 50 cents (1.77%) to close at $28.75.
And according to the Search Engine Roundtable blog, quite a few people would switch to GBuy if it was ever launched:
Currently we have over 38% saying they will switch, only 19% saying they will not and 42% saying they just don’t know. Why would someone switch without seeing it first? Well, it is Google.
I just want to see if it’s anything like PayPal, which I quite like.
Maybe it will come late tonight. Or maybe it won’t come at all?
UPDATE: I knew I wasn’t the only one waiting!
UPDATE 2: Looks like we’ll see Google Checkout on Thursday. The service doesn’t seem to be available yet, so I’ll reserve further comment until later.
If you said Microsoft or Yahoo, you’d be wrong. I think the real enemy for Google is itself, which is kind of like Microsoft, but for different reasons. Microsoft’s worst enemy is itself because it has to find ways to get people to upgrade from the existing versions of Microsoft software they already use. Or to move their users to a subscription model. Google’s worst enemy is itself because they have done an amazingly good job of accomplishing nothing.
“But they have so many products!” you exclaim. Exactly. They have got a ton of products, including some like the recently released Google Spreadsheets that seem to target Microsoft applications (though Microsoft’s Don Dodge makes a good case that they target open source software instead), yet none of them make money. Honestly, Google must have the largest number of non-revenue earning products of any company in history. I say they have accomplished nothing because their core product (AdSense, not search) really hasn’t changed all that much since it was launched. Instead of improving it, and finding ways to deal with click fraud and the other problems, Google has blinded itself with these side projects that seem bent on competing with Microsoft. And don’t be fooled by their ad company purchases – none of them have come to bear any fruit yet.
When I first learned about it, I thought that Google’s policy of encouraging employees to spend 10-20% of their time working on non-core projects was a good one, but now I am not so sure. It has resulted in lots of interesting technology to be sure, but not much else. I really don’t see how Google would get any ROI out of something like Google Spreadsheets. I have no idea what Google’s revenue breakdown is, but I highly doubt there’s a gem, other than AdSense of course, to be found.
That’s why I think Google’s worst enemy is itself. They have grown so big, so fast, that they forgot to take care of the goose that laid the golden egg. They haven’t cut it open yet, but if they continue to focus on these other mostly unimportant side projects, they might as well have.
The infamous Henry Blodget took up blogging last year, and regardless of your opinions about him or your memories of the dotcom bubble and subsequent bust, he has some interesting thoughts. His latest focus on Google, which has been enjoying quite a steady ride north on the stock market lately. Here’s what Mr. Blodget has to say:
No one else is writing this piece, so it will have to be me. I should say upfront that I’m not predicting that this will happen (yet), and I’m certainly not making a recommendation. I’m just laying out a scenario that could kick Google in the kneecaps and take its stock back to, say, $100 a share.
Google’s major weakness is that it is almost entirely dependent on one, high-margin revenue stream. The company has dozens of cool products, but with the exception of AdWords, none of them generate meaningful revenue. From an intermediate-term financial perspective, therefore, they are irrelevant.
So, the question is, what could happen to AdWords, and what will happen to the company (and stock) if it does?
It’s a very interesting read, definitely worth it. One of the bigger problems he mentions is click fraud, but Google’s rapidly growing fixed costs are also a big factor. And he nails the biggest problem of all – they need some other revenue generating products! You can’t run a sustainable business when you only release beta products (I recently posted about betas on the Paramagnus Blog).
I know it’s silly to compare Google with Microsoft and Yahoo and any other company, but if Google “loses”, it will be because the other companies all have numerous revenue streams.
Read: Internet Outsider