Google Challenges Over the Next 5 Years
Like all large companies that expanded very rapidly, Google is facing an important choice. There can be no doubt what its business is: search. If Google chooses to focus on search it will remain the best in the business. If Google keeps its leading position and continues to provide solid value for its stockholders things will be great for years to come. But, if it uses its profits from search to fund all manner of wild unfocused ideas, it will become like Microsoft, lose its leadership position, and produce crappy products. Where will Google be in the next five years?
Android in 5 Years
Google, in essence, is an advertising platform that has monetized it search engine. When it focuses on its Google Adwords advertising business combined with its search engine, it produces many billions of dollars in value for investors. It can be argued that its Android operating system is as valuable as its search and advertising businesses. Its android operating system won’t be going anywhere in the next five years, but will continue to be fragmented and offer multiple smart phone options, all with different operating software. If Google improves in this position it will be by syncing its Android operating system update across devices.
Technology in 5 Years
Google bought Boston Dynamics in late 2013, and everyone started envisioning their very own C3POs (from “Star Wars”) walking around, but Google really hasn’t done anything but research so far. What Google needs to realize is that it is not a robotics or hardware manufacturer. When Google starts taking its search and advertising profits and plows them into speculative nonsense like Google Glass and self-driving cars, it dilutes the value of its company and takes valuable resources away from the reason it has those profits in the first place. That’s not to say Google can’t improve over the next five years, but it needs to look at its strengths and invest in its weaknesses. If Google doesn’t up its game in its technology division, it won’t make much ground in the next five years.
Adwords in 5 Years
Adwords is a great product, but it doesn’t have the must user-friendly interface. Over the next five years, Google will most definitely increase its targeting perimeters, and increase its Adwords product in ways we can’t possibly predict. But the trend in technology today is the product with the most user-friendly interface wins the day. Since Google has a monopoly of advertising on its own search platform it will never lose to another advertising platform, but it will grow in distaste among users if it doesn’t work on their user interface over the next five years.
Adsense in 5 Years
Adsense is Google’s platform for webmasters to display Google ads. The problem Google’s facing is all the pop up ads, and other scams that chew up marketing budgets of small businesses. Google’s inability to fix these ad scams could alienate good publishers and those who are trying to game the system for what amounts to pennies at best hurts the platform. Like many technology companies, Google evaluates success in terms of profit, but if it doesn’t work over the next five years to make Adsense more efficient it will lose out to other platforms.
These are the kinds of problems that open doors for competitors. In 2014, search technology is well-understood and not difficult to replicate. It also goes without saying Google is by no means the first search engine. Challenges like these will present a test for Google over the next five years. If it fails to meet them and address them properly, the company may find itself in a sudden and difficult struggle to maintain its market dominance.