Google, Acquisitions, and Like What?

August 16, 2010

When I was finishing a client’s research report in 2005, I learned that Google was poking around Riya. Nothing came of that rumor, and I got the idea to take a look at some of Google’s patent applications as a possible pool of information for what eventually became Google Version 2.0: The Calculating Predator. I read “Google to Acquire after Leaving Them at the Altar in 2005” and a thought struck me. Google’s acquisitions in the last six or seven months seem to be duplicative; that is, the features and functions of the acquired companies seem to be similar to systems and methods mentioned or described in Google patent applications. Applications are interesting to me because these documents provide a small window through which to glimpse some of the thinking going on inside a company’s research groups. Most applications just sit there and gather dust. Some become real patents. Patent applications are one bobbing cork in an organization’s business stream. Not definitive, patent applications are interesting.

The questions in my mind this morning are:

  1. Google’s spending spree seems to me to be similar to the approach employed by Yahoo in the pre-Semel years. That strategy helped contribute to Yahoo’s technical fragmentation. Does Google’s management team have a method to minimize fragmentation and prevent the construction of technical silos?
  2. Has it become sufficiently difficult to get Google  engineers to work on certain projects that Google’s management finds it more expedient to buy a company with a dedicated team? If the answer is, “Yes, buying a company produces a ready-to-code team”, how will this shift affect Goggle’s “Googliness”? Being Googley is the culture, so perhaps the culture at Google is shifting?
  3. When a company gets sucked up by another entity, time is required to deploy the landing gear, get on an approach, and then bring the aircraft down for a safe landing on the aircraft carrier. More time is required to move the aircraft from the flight deck to its designated location and get the pilot and crew settled into their quarters. The problem is that Google’s competitors are moving too. Google, particularly in the social space, may have to spend more time moving aircraft than deploying them to harm the companies’ enemies. Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and now Oracle are attacking the Google. How much time does Google have to align its parts and get its assets where they are urgently needed?

What I find interesting is that so much at Google seems to be going in a surprising direction. There is the hassle in South Korea, the Oracle Java dust up, the Facebook targeted ad thrust which is a potentially big problem, and the testiness of the Cupertino crowd reflecting its leaders luminescene into the eyes of Googzilla, and the pressure cooker of the Verizon probe to tier wireless fees. If advertising revenue softens, the Google will have a chance to demonstrate the wisdom of its current approach to innovation and monetization.

Perhaps the logic of Math Club management will break new ground in organizational development?

Stephen E Arnold, August 16, 2010

Definitely a freebie


Comments are closed.

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta