Google Gets Another Magazine Cover

The new issue of Technology Review is out and guess who’s on the cover?

Yes, it’s Google. Two covers in less than a month.

The full text of Charles Ferguson’s excellent Technology Review article: What’s Next for Google is available here.

The article has a focus on Google vs. Microsoft. Good portion of time spent discussing API’s.

One Comment/Minor Gripe. I would have liked if Ferguson spent some time discussing the marketing issues Microsoft and others also face when competing with Google. Yes, of course, great technology is important but so is getting people to try it and use it again. This is where marketing and branding come into play and as I’ve said many times, few do it better than Google. Just look at the coverage and attention Google’s announcement today likely deflected away from yesterday’s release of the MS desktop search product.

Here are a couple (of many) passages from the eight page article that caught my eye:

Despite everything Google has—the swelling revenues, the cash from its initial public offering, the 300 million users, the brand recognition, the superbly elegant engineering—its position is in fact quite fragile.

Eric Schmidt and Microsoft’s Bill Gates will be competing against each other for the third time. For both men, the contest is personal as well as financial.

The emergence of search standards would encourage tremendous growth and provide many benefits to users. But standardization would also introduce a new and destabilizing force into the industry. Instead of competing through incremental improvements in the quality and range of their search services, Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo will be forced into a winner-take-all competition for control of industry standards.

One Google manager, who preferred not to be named, said his company understands the need for proprietary control, and that future products would prove it…But the Google executive declined to com­ment on future plans, noting that his employer had become secretive to the point of paranoia

Google?s sole Web API is laughably limited, offering little functionality and contractually restricting users to 1,000 queries per day.

Two Google employees (both of whom prefer not to be named) told me that Google?s leaders believe that the company?s expertise in infrastructure?knowing how to build and operate those 250,000 servers?constitutes a competitive advantage more important than APIs or standards. This could be a major, even fatal, error.

The article concludes with the author’s suggestions about what Google should do.

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