I’ve watched Google grow from scratch to something big with curious eyes. Back in the millennium, people would have shrugged if they were asked about Google. “Google? Whats that?” Although this is an unfair comparison, Harry Potter book series were more popular back then (Believe it or not, the first novel of the Harry Potter series was released about a year before Page and Brin decided to create a search engine). From a simple and plain search engine bearing an innovative algorithm, Google has evolved into a search giant. The term search giant would have been more appropriate for Google a few years ago, because
Google isn’t just a search giant anymore. It is a multinational Corportation worth several billions (thats a lot of zeros) offering a wide array of free services and a few paid services (most of which serve as an extension to the freebies) and a new player in the hardware market. With the advent of Android, Google has its reach to over 300 million users (that’s a huge userbase). And there is Google Chrome, which has a browser market share of 33% and a slight edge over Microsoft’s IE. With intense advertising, and the blue “Download Google Chrome” button on Google’s homepage, why wouldn’t anyone want to give it a try
I am not sure what Google’s strategy is but they are fairly in love freedom and open source. And that’s the core factor of their success. All the major components of Google, whether it be Google search, Google mail, Google Chrome, Android etc are all free. For instance, if Apple ever let their iOS be used on another device (which I don’t think is gonna happen in the near future), they would probably charge a huge royalty in return. But Google does it for free, and that’s Android. Gadget manufacturers don’t have to go through the trouble of developing a new operating system specific to their device and software maintenance becomes a piece of cake. Although Android’s open source environment does have many issues, the biggest drawback being fragmentation.
One third of the whole Internet population use Google Chrome to experience the web. Google chrome who will turn into a 4 year old this September (isn’t that cute?), has knocked down its old folks who were dominant in the browser market for more than a decade, obviously Microsoft’s IE. The browser development was stagnant for several years until Mozilla and Google came to the rescue. Here are 2 other obvious things:
Microsoft arrogantly despised IE whilst spending huge developer power and money in building an aesthetic user interface, Aero for Windows Vista. The world was stuck with IE 6 for 5 long dreaded years. Did Microsoft ignore IE because they had the dominant hand in the market share back then, or was it because Microsoft didn’t feel like investing in it because it was free unlike Microsoft office and other Microsoft products. Either way Google could turn the tables around with intense advertising, speed, security and here is my favourite one: innovation. Google chrome slashed down all the unnecessary menus and the end product was sleek and beautiful. They knew what the users adored and what the hated about a browser. Google chrome is also backed up by open source and a huge number of Google’s own developers (I don’t have the exact figures).
What makes Google almost perfect and successful at the same time, watch out for my next post.