Friday, October 21, 2005

Has Google Peaked? (Slate)

Potential obstacles for the world's hottest tech company.

“When I think of Google, I think of the arch-villain Mr. Big from the James Bond film Live and Let Die. His diabolical plan: Flood the streets with free heroin to drive out competing suppliers and dealers. Once users got hooked on his free smack, Mr. Big could leverage control over the entire market.

This is, in essence, Google's business model. Of course, instead of heroin it traffics in free software and Web sites. It's unlikely Google will start charging for them anytime soon—rather, it will continue to deploy services as a vehicle for targeting ads.

But, like Mr. Big, Google depends on the broad acceptance of its products. Without massive numbers of users, the company wouldn't have the customer base to attract billions of dollars in advertising revenue.”