Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Google Space: a Physical Location for a Focus Group?

Google extends searching offline
Google may already be dominant on the web but now it is stretching its wings to the physical world as well.
Google Space, at Terminal One of London's Heathrow airport, will allow people to log onto the net and check e-mail while they wait for flights.

For Google, the space will be used to test its myriad product launches on the public.

"We see it as a huge focus group," said Lorraine Twohill, Google's European director of marketing.

"For many of our users, we have always been something in their computers and they have never actually met us," she said.

Core DNA

Google Earth - allows users to search the planet, via maps and satellite images
Google Toolbar - a search box in users browsers allows them to search from any web page
Google Mail - offers over 2000MB of free storage and allows users to search for any previous e-mail
Google Local - information about local businesses, restaurants, hotels and driving directions
Picasa - picture management service where users can also edit, crop and mail their stored photos to friends
Google Mobile - an SMS service which allows users to ask questions such as how to get from one place to another and get instant answers

With trained Google staff on hand at the booth, it will be a chance to road-test some of its new product launches and get invaluable feedback.

Depending on the success of the Heathrow "pod", Google could become a recognised physical presence in airports, stations and even high streets around the world, said Ms Twohill.

Google has been a phenomenal year of launches, even by the standards of a cutting-edge tech firm.

Desktop search, Google Earth, Google Mail, Google Local, Google Toolbar, picture management store Picasa and Google Mobile have all come online in recent months, as Google continues to expand its search catalogue to all aspects of daily life.

Also out of the labs this month is Google's personalised search, which, alongside a bespoke homepage which can be built to your own personal needs, also offers more personalised searching, remembering what you have previously looked for and selecting things it thinks you want to see.

While it may seem as if Google has its fingers in many pies at the moment, all its products are interlinked, said Ms Twohill.

"It all comes back to our core DNA of search," she said.

As well as moving into a physical space, Google is also likely to make a play for our pockets too, with Ms Twohill earmarking mobile - alongside personalisation - as important areas for the firm in the future.

Google's ever-expanding product portfolio has led some commentators to question whether it is making a bid to be the next Microsoft.

According to Ms Twohill, its ambitions are more modest.

"We are still a tenth the size of Microsoft and are not ready to be compared to them," she said.

It is true though that Microsoft is increasingly vying for a share of the search market and this can only be a good thing, she thinks.

"A space like search needs two or three key players. While search is not Microsoft's heritage, if it sets its mind to something it will do a good job and grow the space for everyone," she said.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/11/24 11:20:49 GMT


Remember the old adage about offline-online (bricks and mortar) combinations during the fading days of the dotcom build up? Search is not just online; we know that.

Moreover: Google cannot infer how we use Google's suite of products from just click streams; they need to understand the emotions (frustrations and excitement!). What better way than focus groups at prominent locations like the Heathrow Airport!

See what Apple's retail stores did for Apple's revival (especially with ipods!).

Monday, November 21, 2005


A Hot Book on Google (with praise!)

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Google Stock @ $400

A milestone for Google's capitalization: It's over $100 billion--the best run up for a technology stock since the dotcom crash.

At $111 billion on Friday (Nov 18, 2005), it is above Cisco ($106 billion), eBay ($62 billion), Yahoo ($59 billion), Oracke ($65 billion), Apple ($53 billion) and Time Warner ($84 billion).

When will it catch up with IBM ($138 billion), Intel ($152 billion) or Microsoft ($298 billion)?

Or i sit a case of another over-hyped stock?
See BW article for a recent discussion about Google flying high--perhaps?

Has anyone seen good analytical discussions on Google stock? Does it have any parallel with the dot-com frenzy or Enron?

Or does it defy any historical comparisons because we are truly in a new era where the old rules of value and valuations are being slowly and steadily dismantled?

Friday, November 18, 2005


Gooogle Analytics

It will be interesting to see how this impacts marketing consulting industry

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Google Sitemaps: Incorporating Webmasters into the ecosystem

Clearly, Google needs to maximize its coverage of content. What better way than invite the site managers to provide information that makes it easier and more effective to tag relevant content! So, Google launches Google Sitemaps.

Will this create new form of stickiness with some specific sites? Will it create new drivers of indirect network effects?


Google Base: Taking on New Competitors

Watch out eBay.

Watch out

Watch out Craig's list (

Watch out newspaper clasified ads..

and who else?? well.. every company should ask: what's our position relative to Google in the network today?

What's clever is getting people to upload their content in a categorized way to make it easily searchable and accessible to others. Another way to become the hub.

EBay created the platform to allow sellers and buyers link on the global electronic network for a wide variety of physical products.

Google Base may be the platform for linking people and companies for products and services on a global basis.

Google is in the 'connection business' and connections lead to transactions; and that's where they have put their 'cash registers' now (AdWords and AdSense) and that's where we will see more cash registers in the future.

To think of them as a search engine is myopic.


Microsoft in enterprise search--against Google and IBM

Another move in the changing competitive space..

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Google Labs vs. Yahoo Next

Many are watching the coming web 2.0 battle by looking into the research and product pipelines of Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Amazon and others. Although the technology industry is known for vaporware and pre-announcements of products with no clear sense of product launch dates, it is interesting to see the scope and shape of the new features by taking a peek into the labs.

Google gave us a long factory tour (informative and entertaining):
the video can be seen at:

the slides are located at

and updates of their beta services (and products):

Yahoo is working on a wide suite of services

Has anyone mapped these two (and other companies) in terms of the features and functionalities and the strengths and weaknesses of their different initiatives?


IBM and Blogging

We will soon see more IBMers bloggibg externally. It is estimated that about 15,000 IBMers blog internally and about 2,000 plus blog externally. The main focus--I guess--will be on maintaining the link with customers.

They are also riding the blogging wave with launch of new software tools to help companies keep track of how they are discussed and mentioned in blogs.

The news release reproduced below is useful to see what IBM is trying to do

IBM Software Tracks Blogs, Web Content to Capture Buzz, Spot
Trends Around Companies, Products and Marketing Campaigns
Nov 7, 2005 -- IBM today introduced a new software solution that enables
businesses to make sense of the explosion of information from emerging social
networks on the Web to deliver new insight into brand reputation and customer,
competitor and public opinion about their company.
The proliferation of blogs, news feeds, consumer review sites, newsgroups and articles published daily on the Web has created a phenomenon where public opinion about an
organization spreads worldwide, faster than ever before. These sources are
filled with insight from consumers, experts and competitors that can be analyzed
and used by businesses to make better decisions on products, services and
business strategies. This creates a tremendous opportunity for organizations to
carefully monitor their image and more quickly address business opportunities,
threats, quality concerns or changing public perception.
To help clients gain a real-time view of commentary and opinion about their business, IBM is
delivering a new Public Image Monitoring Solution, a software offering designed
with Nstein Technologies and Factiva, to allow organizations to analyze and make
sense of commentary, issues and information affecting their brand, providing new
insight into how they operate and make business decisions.
Companies can use the Public Image Monitoring Solution to track success of product introductions and marketing campaigns, to help determine focus areas for product and marketing improvements, and to conduct impact analysis by comparing consumer feedback and
industry trends to actual sales data and marketing investments. Organizations
in diverse industries can benefit from this solution. For example, a consumer
goods manufacturer could use this software to track response to new product
introductions by examining consumer product reviews and blog discussions about
the new product, drill down into information from regions of the world where
public sentiment about the product was less than positive, and identify hot
topics or trends associated with the product.

The solution leverages IBM's deep expertise in text analytics and semantic search technology from IBM Research and IBM Business Consulting Services' brand management practice. It
supports IBM's company-wide strategy to help clients identify, access and
extract valuable meaning out of information -- regardless of format, source or
structure -- thereby enabling them to make better, more informed business

"Companies are seeking new ways to better understand how they are
viewed by customers, investors and other stakeholders who have an impact on
their brand reputation," said Jon Prial, vice president, IBM content management
and discovery. "This solution can help clients track and analyze the pulse of
the public in real-time, allowing organizations to be more responsive and
deliver better service to their customers."

The Public Image Monitoring Solution is based on IBM WebSphere Information Integrator OmniFind Edition, the first commercial platform for deploying UIMA-based text analytics solutions. WebSphere Information Integrator OmniFind Edition provides advanced intelligent
search capabilities, making it easier for companies to access critical business
information and greatly improve the relevance of their search results. By
extending customers' ability to gain real-time insight into their business
information, it enables them to make more effective decisions and be more
competitive in the marketplace. The solution also leverages multi-lingual
text analytics from Nstein Technologies which enables the extraction of advanced
metadata, allowing organizations to identify "hot topics" as well as analyze
tone, facts, opinions, events, locations, and indirect alliances to detect early
trends and emerging problems. In addition, the solution enables organizations to
incorporate content from Factiva, such as news feeds and published

"Understanding what is said about a company and its products can
provide tremendous competitive advantage," said Greg Gerdy, vice president and
director of channel marketing and strategy, Factiva. "Factiva is heavily
committed to the emerging market around mining content for value-added
intelligence. Our rich set of thousands of world-class news sources is a key
component in this market transformation, and having IBM as a driver will make it
happen much faster."

The Public Image Monitoring Solution is built upon the
Unstructured Information Management Architecture (UIMA), an open framework for
building sophisticated analytic applications that provide domain-specific
applications, analytics, taxonomies, and ontologies that can uncover latent
meaning, relationships, and facts buried in information sources.
The Public Image Monitoring Solution is currently available from IBM and Nstein
Technologies. IBM WebSphere Information Integrator OmniFind Edition version 8.3,
an enhanced version of the company's technology foundation for delivering
actionable information in context through enterprise search and text analysis of
databases, content management systems, file systems, collaboration systems and
external websites, is targeted to be available during fourth quarter


API War 2.0: Past Success is NO Guarantee for Future Success

API War 1.0 was about winning in the software space.

Microsoft won by understanding the power of APIs to develop and nurture an ecosystem of independent software vendors (ISVs). It mastered product platforms through ecosystems in the software space. Much has been written on how Microsoft dominated the software sector by leveraging direct and indirect network effects.

Now, the game is shifting to services with different ecosystems.

Joel Spolsky's 2004 blog is useful to understand the tensions inside Microsoft as we go from that battle to the new battle.

Now, we are in API War 2.0. Microsoft is not fighting against Sun, SAP, Oracle and Real Networks. In fact, it has settled and patched up with many of the old enemies. Yesterday's competitors are today's partners because the game has changed. The battlefront has moved on.

in API War 2.0, the key competitors are: Google, Amazon, eBay and Yahoo. May be we should add IBM and Apple and few others to the list. They are jockeying to win in the services space. It's not about APIs to win in the software space but to use software to win in the services space. Gates/Ozzie memos last week is about preparing to win the next war.

The signs are clear. Past cash registers through Windows and Office cannot be defended for ever. Just being a winner in API War 1.0 is not a guarantee of success in War 2.0. Bill Gates and Co. know that. They have successfully adapted to technology-driven business shifts before.

What will the new services-led ecosystems look like? Will Microsoft be able to parlay its experience with the software ecosystems to create and nurture new services-led ecosystems?

Friday, November 11, 2005


Smart Marketing Through Results Driven Advertising

Google has a clear lead in AdWords in the different industries:

Smart Marketing is happening in the different industries with significant results that seem to favor the business practice introduced by Google.

See: We are in an era of services that are based on micro-analysis of consumer behavior.

What do these initial results from the different industries mean for competitive shifts in these industries? Will we see winners and losers being defined by who is able to migrate to smart search? Are marketing strategies taking this into account?


Personalization--a Holy Grail of Web 2.0?

So, now Google can look at my click through news links (Google News) and serve up ads when the service moves beyond beta. Well at leats, I get to look through the search history and edit if I need to.

I have always wondered about the digital footprints and fingerprints that we leave on the web as we surf the web. Now Google trackes, traces and hopefully gives me some personalized service rather than misuse and abuse the trust that I place on them to 'know me.'

The ultimate holygrail of service is personalization at an affordable price point and the Web has always been a place to offer it. Web 1.0 barely scratched the surface of personalization (remember the early versions of My Yahoo or Pointcast pushing the feeds or Amazon's early recommender system). It's not about personalization at the margin by fine-tuning few categories but personalization as a core philosophy.

Web 2.0 will be markedly different if we achieve trustworthy personalization (where consumers feel that they have got something in return for allowing someone--Google or Yahoo or Microsoft--watch what they do on the network). or will we feel like we are watched by the Big Brother or dark-lord?



Web2MemeMap, originally uploaded by Tim O'Reilly.

I like this pictorial representation of web 2.0 showing semantic connections!

Tim's original text that goes with this figure is located at:


Google Wallet

if Google Wallet (Google Purchase or whatever the final label be) is launched, what will the impact be on e-commerce? That's a multi-billion dollar question.

Could Google create a more powerful link between advertising and purchase that has eluded us in the industrial era?

What will it mean for customer trust and privacy? Will they succeed where Microsoft's passport before failed?

Tracing and tracking digital footprints and handprints on the web is a monumental responsibility.

The screenshot on the right is from:


Google Inside

If you thought Google was only about AdWords and AdSense, then you may have missed out Google's enterprise offerings []. OK, it's tiny part of Google's revenue today and is easy to miss.

Google does not advertise its own products and services. So, how to persuade companies to try Google inside enterprises? How about a free trail? Apple has gloated how many switched from Windows in their ads before. They even tell you the top 10 reasons to switch: You have seen other companies trying different ways to get you to switch (phone companies, utility companies, credit card companies, etc. etc.)

So, what is Google doing to get inside enterprises? Free trial:

This is the official list of customers.
Does anyone know if this is accurate and updated?

Will we see a 'Google Inside' logo??


The Next Shift in Business: Many Names and Many Players

There is a shift underway that has many different labels: service innovations, On-Demand, adaptive enterprises, software-enabled services and so on.

It's beyond browser web of the late 1990s. It's beyond e-commerce of 1999-2000. It's about the shift away from products to services; it's about a new logic of organization; it's about creating business models on the network (web) which is more powerful than ever before; it's ultimately about capturing significant value. Google seems to be defining the game and has captured the imagination of Wall Street.

Other companies are responding forcefully (or at least signalling that they are changing their business models).

The Gates/Ozzie memo captures this shift from Microsoft's perspective.'s response is summarized in the following link: They call it 'The Business Web.'

If you see response from other companies, let me know. I like to compile a list so that when the dust settles, we can impartially take a look at the shape and scope of this shift underway right in front of our eyes.

Who will succeed? will it have any parallels with the bom-n-bust of the late 1990?


Google Ads go Offline

So, you thought Google was only going after the online advertising space (AdWords and AdSense)?
Think again...

I think this is another example of experimentation today that could lead to exploitation of new revenue and profit streams tomorrow.


Winning WebWar 2.0

Remember the distinction between "old economy" and "new economy" in the late 1990s? Amazon was the posterchild and Bezos was Time Magazine's Person of the Year (1999). AOL bought Time Warner and every company was going on-line (with .com added to their names). We tracked eyeballs as a way to monetize the worth of websites and did not care much for the price-earnings ratio. NASDAQ reached 5000 and we never questioned the sustainability of such a number!

That was web 1.0.

Now, there's a new distinction: web 1.0 and web 2.0.

Just like old and new economy companies, there are no good definitions to distinguish clearly between web 1.0 and web 2.0. But, the players jockeying in the new space are trying to craft new sources of value through services. If you want to see some latest ideas, follow the links below:

It's about blogging; it includes social tagging; it embraces open source and democratization of the web; it is about software-enabled services; it's about mash-ups through APIs; it's about personalization; it's about globalization and the world becoming flat; it's about media and entertainment; it's about mobile devices. And Yes, it is about the next generation of value creation and capture.

John Hagel's working definition is a worthy staring point: “an emerging network-centric platform to support distributed, collaborative and cumulative creation by its users.”

I alos like John's point about thinking about the impact of Web 2.0 on software companies and on business enterprises that are not in the software industry--like retailing, publishing, media, financial services, automotive and so on.

It's too early to say who'll win (remember all the doctcom predictions?). The Web 2.0 war is multi-faceted.

The leader-pack seems to be:


But there are many other startups that are striving to join the leaderpack. Who would you add to the list as companies to watch as potential winner in Web 2.0 in the software sector and in other industries that are faced with the challenges of developing their business models on the web.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


The New Battlefront

Well.. the new competitive battlefront is drawn. It's not software but services. it's not licensing fees from software but services that are linked to advertising. It's not services that IBM is going after but services that seem to be core to Google's rise to dominance and prominence.

Microsoft is clearly betting on the services space--while still hoping to maintain its current cash registers as long as possible (as every profitable company should do). But the mother of all battles is in the services space. Not in professional services that IBM is seeking to win but in services on the net where e-commerce is finally taking off and advertising is becoming the new currency.

Microsoft's new service space is (in beta). It could be new wine in old bottle (to use an old cliche)--see the CNET News link:

Clearly Live can be personalized to suit individual tastes. Looks a lot like Google. It's not the appearance that matters. it's the content that matters. Will some content be preferentially available in Live? What will create the 'stickiness' with Live that will propel Microsoft to leapfraog over Google and Yahoo?

Just look at two recent announcements:

Microsoft annouced a partnership with AP News yesterday.

This news may have been lost in the midst of the so-called Gates/Ozzi memo leak. but watch out for announcements that lock up preferential content on Live.

Yahoo announced a link with Tivo

This also might have been lost in the midst of announcements about new gadgets.

They signals the shape of convergence that may shake up media and entertainment. Just as Apple shook up the music industry and altered the pricing models of music, we are on the threshold of shaking up revenue streams in media and entertainment. Afterall, advertising is the bloodline for media and entertainment.

Who will AOL join with? It looks like the final choice is now between Google and Microsoft.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


In Google's Company

Who do you compare Google to?

That depends on the scope of services (search and non-search) that you consider and when you consider. Clearly, the core list is clear: Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL. The following link gives a good comparison.

If I were to add to this list, I would include eBay and Amazon for sure.

However, what makes Google interesting is that such straightforward comparison of features and services perhaps miss the larger point: Google has the potential to impact the competitive strategies of a far larger set of firms than these firms.

What about advertising? Clearly, search is a means to an end and Google has done a great job so far of monetizing search through advertising. So, what will the advertising industry look like in the next five years? What role will Google play in the lucrative part of media planning and media buy? Will it play a role in combining offline and online advertising?

Or what could Google News do to newspaper companies? Not that the newspapers will become extinct tomorrow but the ability of newspapers to have close customer connections will be diminished substantially. Where will customer loyalty migrate? Who will get to capture the cash register? What role for personalization of news for multiple sources and different formats?

Or look at media and entertainment in an era of mp3, itunes and podcasting. What will be the shape of on-demand multi-media entertainment in the future? What role will Apple have in the space? What role of Microsoft media server in high definition? Or its Xbox? Can Sony reshape itself in the age of Google to extract a fair share of its profits? What about other media companies such as Fox, ABC-Disney and NBC Universal? Cable and satellite operators?

There is a strong rumor that Google is working on a new payment mechanism along the lines of PayPal (or some variant). There are even rumored names (Google Purhase or Gbuy). When Google launches its beta version, we will know for sure and its specific distinguishing features. What will the impact of such a mechanism on financial services? And more importantly: how will Google use data from a payment mechanism to better target advertisement and fine tune its services?

I am also watching to see how Google will begin making money on the mash-ups that use various services from Google, Yahoo, Amazon and others ( Monetizing new services based on information linked across different sites could be new avenues for business innovations. I only hope that we will pay particular attention to the monetizing part that we seem to have missed during the dot-com boom.

So, who do you put on Google’s cross-hairs?

Monday, November 07, 2005


Programmable Web: Who is Leading Innovations?

One of the new and exciting developments these days is about mash-ups with new websites that create business value by linking data from two (or more) websites.

There are over 100 APIs that are available for mash-ups and over 150 mash ups (most of them just creations of enthusiasts!) available now..

Google, Yahoo, EBay and Amazon are leading today. Microsoft with its new emphasis on 'live' will surely be a contender to watch.

Mash-ups could usher in a new era of innovations. Instant, dynamic links across websites that allow consumers (and businesses) to zoom in to what they seek quicker than normal search.

Who will lead? What new business innovations are likely to emerge? Who will extract value? Where will the proverbial cash registers be placed?

Comments, suggestions, links and blogs are welcome.    

Sunday, November 06, 2005


Google's Ambidexterity

What is ambidexterity in common parlance?

Ambidexterity is the ability of being equally adept with each hand (or, to a limited degree, feet). The word "ambidextrous" is derived from the Latin roots ambi, meaning "both," and dext, meaning "right." Thus, "ambidextrous" is literally "right on both sides".
In business jargon, ambidexterity represents "the ability to do two seemingly opposing things equally well." In simple terms, a firm is good at today's operations and is poised to do well in the future as well.
Professor Mike Tushman of Harvard Business School looks at ambidexterity as being simultaneously good at exploitation and exploration.

I find Google is a contemporary example of ambidexterity as it explores new avenues--look at Google Labs ( while exploiting its superior functionality through adwords http:// and adsense http://

Looking through the lens of Google's 70-20-10 (the way Google employees allocate their scarce resources, time), 70% of Google's efforts are directed at exploitation of their current offerings while 30% are spent on exploring new avenues or vistas (no pun intended!).

I also find that Google is exploring and exploiting its innovations both inside the firm as well as through a set of network partners. Based on recent data from Google, we know that adwords and adsense contribute roughly equal to Google's topline.

We may indeed be seeing ambidexterity as a business concept at two dimensions: the traditional axis of exploration-exploitation extended to a new axis of internal-external. This 4-dimensional grid may define the trajectory and scope of Google's business. The services and tools are not exhaustive but illustrative.
Comments, links, suggestions and blog links welcome.


Google's Business Model as a Conversation Point in Boardrooms

Microsoft was feared by other software companies. Most software companies developed their business strategies with an explicit (if not implicit) reference to Microsoft. Should they compete directly against Microsoft? Should they develop complementary products that ensure interoperability? Should they create formal partnerships and alliances with Microsoft?

In short: every software company had to figure out the best way to comptete-and-cooperate with Microsoft during the last decade.

Companies beyond the software sector saw the growing importance of Microsoft as we shifted to an information age but were not directly impacted by Microsoft. Their business models were not directly threatened by Microsoft; on the contrary, many companies in different sectors benefitted from superior operational and administrative efficiency.

But Google is different.

It is not just forcing companies like Microsoft, Yahoo eBay and Amazon to reassess their business strategies. It is forcing companies in many different sectors to think seriously about their business models. what will newspapers be like in the future if Google News become the pervasive model of customized news? what will media and entertainment business models with pervasive search and near-instant delivery of content to different devices?

New York Times today carried an article that begins to highlight why Google is to be taken seriously in other sectors.

This follows an earlier article about Google's potential role in advertising.

I am starting to understand business innovation challenges in the age of Google. Specifically, I am interested in how Google is redefining business models in different sectors so that we can develop principles of business models in a widespread networked era.

Welcome reactions, suggestions, interesting links and blogs.



What will Google's business scope be like in a few years??

This image is taken from Randy Siegel's writing in the New York Times (October 10, 2005).

If this is indeed possible, then their market valuation is not so high! In fact, it is a steal. Talk about global domination--circa 21st century.

If you want a peek into all the domains registered to Google, here it is:

Can Google create and execute on this lofty goal?

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