If I look at where Google is now, and why they might been considering some leadership changes, a few things jump out at me.
- Back in 2000, the way that Google changed search on the Internet was incredible. It was as if they opened a completely new (and large and fast) door to the world of information. But over time, we've become accustomed to that information always being available to us. Information is now expected. It's still a cash cow, but it's no longer a "wow" factor. [Bring Sexy Back]
- The Internet is exploding into a social medium. And while there are tons of engineers figuring out new algorithms for unlocking information from social interactions, "social" is an unpredictable area. Who knew that we'd love to send 140 characters, or tell the world that we're checking into the gas station, or buy virtual farmland. Predicting the social internet is like predicting the next fashion craze for 13-14yr old teenage girls. It doesn't always make sense, it's not predictable. And Google is all about data and things making sense. They believe they can predict your next search and potentially the future. There is a disconnect here. [OK Fine, You're a Valley Girl]
- After the Internet bubble burst, Google became the "Internet IPO market" for many start-ups. But other than YouTube and Android, they generally didn't treat those acquisition very well. So not only did they develop a reputation as a less desirable end-state for start-ups, but they increased the competitiveness of other funding sources (secondary markets, VC funding, etc..). [Another One Bites the Dust]
- As we've seen with examples like NetFlix's use of Amazon AWS, the cost to get large-scale new services out the door is significantly less than it was in the past. This means that start-ups don't necessarily need Google's scale to reach a mass audience, so they aren't as willing to sell out to the Googleplex. [Start Me Up]
So how might they address some of these issues and find new areas of business and revenues? Here's a few thoughts: