Ah, the quiet days after the holidays are gone, and now that we have been launched well into the second decennia, I should start writing again too. And while my mind had to get used again to the regular rhythm of waking up early, make my way into the office – now on tea mind you, not coffee. Yep, that new years resolution crap – and shoveling through 8 hours of pushing codes, maintaining relationships and get things to work.
So, earlier this morning I was talking to someone who thought he had seen the light and how to compete with Google News. I do have to admit, that I like to hear plans of how to tackle Google. Because it usually shows gut, strength and a lot of creativity. Even if it doesn’t work.
I am personally not a great fan of the company Google or their products, still, I am a user. I like Bing as a search engine, and try to get other people to use it. Still, 60% of my searches are still happening through Google too. I use their analytics engine still alongside my own, and I do have to admit that I make use of their ad-Words system. But what it is that I do not like about Google is that they actually are not as innovative as many people like to understand. And Google knows it too. There are a small handful of people who are working there, but with that number they could accommodate an average attic and still be successful. But, I do have to give it to them, there are some smart people holding the reigns there. Because, I can say what I want; that company is worth billions, and mine, as we discussed earlier, will have the value when sold of mostly $230,000.
So, I like it when someone comes up to me and says that he/she has the thing to challenge this company. I always keep my hopes high; there might be something in there. But, as it was this time, usually it is like a normal person challenging Goliath. Of course, one day David will come by. But until that time, it is a slaughter fest.
The plan was simple. Challenge Google News by having rewards-based news content. Having a handful of editors going in-depth on subjects, more then Google News does, and give people things for reading it.
Yep, that was my response too. I had first to pick up my jaw from the floor before I could continue. Believe me, these are the concepts I usually am dealing with. And the problem is, that people coming up with these ideas usually do not do research first. This person should have known then why this concept would be a lost endeavor.
First of all, Google mainly runs on news-feeds, which is a low-cost or even free way to show news on your website. You can do it too, right now, for no cost at all. And with collecting a lot of feeds, they can cover and publish enough articles to be a large scale provider of someone else’s news. They have their editors shifting through the content, see that the news is unique so that there are no duplicates, and publish it. Since news is always changing, it is a never-ending job.
Then, Google has a brand, a huge brand that you cannot ignore. It is not known for it’s quality news, it is known to give access to a lot of content. That is hard to beat. Because it means that you not only can find the news, you can easily get to unlimited backgrounds of that news article.
And it is free. It has advertisements, Google has a lot of money, and, it is free. The concept of this person is not ending up to be free. Giving rewards to people costs money. And in these times, that will not be covered by advertisements. To cut costs, this person thought he could run with about five editors going in-depth in news items, more than on Google news.
Everyone who ever wrote a news article knows how long it takes to write an article, let alone do backgrounds on articles. It is impossible even to cover one news channel with 5 people covering in-depth backgrounds, let alone many channels.
But, alas, mentioning this only closes the gates of reason, so after my careful advice I was responded to with the messages that that was not true, that it was actually easy to bring Google down, and that I should wait and see.
Google became popular in the late nineties, when it grabbed the torch from search-engine Alta Vista and delivered a very simple search engine with for then good results. And it never was taken out of the first place. It was a major part in web-tech-evolution. But in my opinion, Google only got three really sturdy systems that they really control; of course, first, their search engine. That one is not amazing and like many other search engines work on the basics of a database query and the results are not spectacular. The first one who really comes up with a functional, easy and effective search engine should be able to kick Google from the first place. But no matter how much money Microsoft or Yahoo! puts in it, they are not getting it.
Then you have YouTube! Themovie streaming database around. There is no way you want to touch this. It costs a lot of money to maintain it, keep it running, with a low amount of possible income. I could not see a way how you will get an investment for that endeavor.
And they have Android, which is their mobile open source OS that I think is rather unique across the mobile OS platforms.
But besides that, not a lot is really impressive that Google produces. With Chrome, which is a nice browser, but nothing innovative there, Orkut on which they ride in the beginning of the social-network hype, Picasa, what is not able to compete with many other image library systems out there. Analytics they did not really handle themselves and is not quite accurate, but it is one of the best free ones. And a lot of things they produce are good, but none of them is really remarkable and so steady it will not have a better competitor.
So, I will let this person go on and I hope he works out his business plan first, because when reaching a SWOT analysis I hope things become more clear to this person, and that he will not invest his money in a lost case before there is a good platform to start out with. Because it would be good when someone challenges Google’s evolution, which is at a standstill in many areas right now. But going at it with lost causes will not really help.
I will not challenge them in any way. Google is a bit too big for me to be my opponent.