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Google’s strategic puzzle takes shape.

August 19, 2011

So Google Related launched in a very low-key way yesterday, and for the everyday web user this is a nice and convenient feature, but to understand it we need to look 12 months down the track of where Google are headed. In fact, it may not even be 12 months.

Let’s look at the bigger picture of Google’s recent and current developments:

 Google Instant: we know what you’re searching for, before you’ve even finished typing it.

Google+: real user identities, with ability to plug into any Google product out there.

Google+ for business: Business profiles which can interact with people in Google+, in circles that suit those people.

Google Offers: Special offers from those businesses specifically targeting people whose locations and web search habits are now known (because more people have a google profile, and share / like / +1 content from around the web)

Google Places: Check in to locations and businesses so Google knows where you like to go and ‘hangout’.

Google documents: those businesses who are interacting within the ecosystem will also find it easier to use shared documents stored in the cloud, at a much more reasonable price than that other mob Bill gates used to run – what were they called again?

 Google Related (intro video included at the end of this post) ties all this together nicely in some ways, in preparation for the end result. Quite scarily, the end result is the reduction of the need to search for things. That’s right, I said it: Google is trying to introduce ways to stop you from ever having to search for things.

Imagine this scenario: You head to work one morning, and stop off for a cup of coffee at your favourite bistro. You check in with Google Places using your Android phone, you might even take a photo and upload it to Google+. You get to your desk at work and open your Chromebook, where you have a Gmail from your boss telling you to update some Google document in time for your 9.30am G+ hangout meeting. After updating the doc, you decide to open your web browser (that’s Chrome by the way), which defaults to iGoogle and your Google+ account. You check your circles – work, friends, sport, and so on.

In the work feed, you have special offers from the computer retailer across the street from your office offering computer accessories for your brand new chromebook – which you bought using Google Wallet. In your friends feed, you have a special offer pop up from the coffee shop you just visited, telling you that if you buy a coffee from them again, they’ll give you half-price raisin toast – just click once to pay for the offer now.

And so on.

You decide to check out the news about your favourite sports team before you hit that 9.30am meeting. As you read the article on your favourite news website, Google Related pops up at the bottom of the browser, offering you related stories, videos, images – and of course, there are special offers which you can buy with one click to get tickets, jerseys and other merchandise for that sporting team – from the store that’s only 2km from your house. You click once to buy the jersey (because you always wanted one of those and it’s half price, and you can pick it up on the way home), and continue reading the article without having ever left the page. By the time you’re done, Google Wallet has recorded this sale, paid for it, and when you return to Google+ for that 9.30am meeting, you’ve already got special offers for your favourite sports team being seeded into your ‘sports’ circle, because now Google knows you’re a fan of that team.

This scenario may all seem a bit contrived, but think like a chess player and jump 4 moves ahead – Larry Page certainly is. And make no mistake about it – the vision is coming to fruition sooner than we think.

You thought Microsoft was dominant in the 80s and 90s? You ain’t seen nothing yet.

While I’d love this kind of ubiquity in my media, I’m also an advocate of competition – I sure hope someone figures out how to divert the juggernaut (because you can’t stop the juggernaut) real soon.

Deliriant Isti Romani – These Romans are Crazy!)

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