Thursday, June 08, 2006

Speculation Grows on Google's Master Plan

The consensus among the pundits seems to be that no one knows what Google's Master Plan is--including Google.

But I'm thinking along different lines. Google does have a focused plan, knows what it is, and is moving as quietly as it can, on its tippytoes as it were, toward that goal.

Today's National Post (Canada) describes Google's strategy as "madly off in all directions." Brin and Page are "scrambling." And Google has an "inability or reluctance to aggressively commit itself to one strategic path." Well, I wonder if that's really true.

Richard MacManus (Read/WriteWeb) says, "Nobody knows what Google's grand plan is - I suspect not even Google."

Michael Arrington (TechCrunch), in a post about Google-love getting out of hand, said, "I want to understand what Google’s overall game plan is. I just don’t see it."

Are Sergey Brin and Larry Page in over their heads? That would be the conclusion if there really were no plan, or if "what we see is what we get" and the scattergun approach of flitting from one service to another to see what works and what doesn't is in fact the ultimate plan.

But my suggestion is that there is an "ambitious corporate vision" but the scattergun approach we are witnessing is designed to cloak the truth. It's something like the CIA removing documents from the National Archive in order to better hide the existence of other documents. That might be the purpose of the "variety show" performance Google has been entertaining us with for the past few years.

Why hide the true plan until some point down the road when it becomes obvious to us all? So its rivals comprehend it too late to do anything about it, and to give Google time to properly position their troops. Surround the enemy and demand his surrender before he even knows you're there.

The new Google Spreadsheets seems a crude product to me. But like Richard MacManus wrote in the link above, the idea is to begin humbly but finish with pride. It tends to relax the competition as well.

Some of Google's activities I suspect are less "serious" than others--the better to hide the stuff that fits in with the Plan. The best place to hide a tree is in a forest. The appearance to the world is one of diffusion because we don't know which activities fit the ultimate puzzle and which ones don't--but they do.

If I had to wager, I would say Google does have a focused Master Plan: To rip the head off Microsoft.

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