Have you ever wondered what Google does for a living? If you haven’t now might be the right time to do so. Google is a giant and yet everything they sell is free, in essence, they don’t sell anything at all, each and every single one of their products are free of cost. Let’s have a cursory glance at some of Google’s products.
Gmail – Your favourite e-mail service, is free until you exceed usage limits, which isn’t likely to happen under normal circumstances unless you are a Spammer and for some strange reason decide to spam your own inbox.
Android – That famous open source operating system, which is available to me and you for free. If you know how to play around the Linux kernel and little programming, you can tweak the Android OS to your convenience and Google wouldn’t sue you for doing so.
Google Chrome – Google’s market leading web browser needs no introduction, its free and always will be.
Google Docs – Well not quite Microsoft Office, but still a pretty darn good office suite though slightly under cooked, but still for free.
Google+, Google Wallet, Google Analytics, Google Checkout, Orkut, Google Code, App Engine, Blogspot, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Earth, I can go on and on, all Google products are without doubt free, including their most famous product, the revolutionary Google Search.
How in God’s name does Google make money then? and it’s not just petty cash, Google is among the top players in the IT world. Why am I telling you all this? Some of you are saying, we know how they make money, they make money through Advertising. And you are right, but still so wrong. Very likely they make money off your intellectual property rights. Read on and judge for yourself.
Google’s Advertising model has Math roots, what they have are algorithms. That’s it, that’s their business model. But it’s the way they use (or rather manipulate) their algorithms to target their adverts to their customers is what separates them from their competition. Google’s main source of revenue is a product called Google AdWords. It uses pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, cost-per-thousand (CPM) advertising, and site-targeted advertising for text, banner, and rich-media ads.
Google is a dangerous monopoly. More than Microsoft ever was. — Joe Wilcox
Every product that Google makes is aimed at achieving these two things, getting to know – you and your consumption behaviour. Every service Google offers collects or analyses your data/information and then uses this data/information to target ads at you. Frankly, if nobody ever clicked on a Google ad, Google is likely to be bankrupt quicker than you can say Google Buzz (our view not theirs).
And so very often Google tweaks their products/services in a way that amuses the rest of the world, but what they eventually do is tweak it in a way that suits their advertising empire. Take for instance their recent privacy changes. The much awaited Google Drive has finally been officially launched. Many Google users have received e-mails to join in the fun on the eagerly awaited cloud storage service. But very strategically Google had released its new privacy rules, which says the following:
When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content
Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? So you now have this great cloud storage service at your disposal which you would love to use and so would I, but one look at the above privacy rules and it leaves you wondering what Google is up to? Soon after its official launch, the blogosphere and Twitter have been buzzing with concerns over Google’s intellectual property rights on the content stored in Google Drive.
Now Microsoft offers similar services in SkyDrive and Dropbox, and I have been a SkyDrive user for over 2 years and I have never had any privacy concerns because Microsoft leaves the intellectual rights to the owners of the content. According to Fox News, Dropbox mentions that:
“information, files, and folders that you submit” are collectively the stuffs of users and “you retain full ownership to your stuff. We don’t claim any ownership to any of it.”
The case of Google Drive and Google’s privacy changes are once again pointers to what Google wants to achieve, they want to know everything about you and then target ads at you, make money off you.
Am I being paranoid here? Because making money isn’t a crime, is it? After all, Google is a business. Maybe I am, but my paranoia stems from reason. It’s our personal information that is at stake here, I wouldn’t like my girlfriend’s picture posted on Google+ wearing a set of sparkling diamonds to be used without our permission to convince buyers in Australia to bid for similar ornaments. And this applies to everyone who uses at least one Google service.
Google is launching more interesting products, Google Glasses being the latest hot topic these days, and you can be sure, Google will find a way to make the business off it, other than selling the glasses that is.
If Google does end up being a monopoly we will just end up being happy, unassuming victims of the greatest business model in Internet history. Take a bow Google, you are one smart search engine.