D Murali

Revenue versus principle

D. Murali | Updated on September 18, 2011

the google guys

Google's prospects – and the controversies the company faces – are limitless.

Becoming the new Microsoft may not be the description that Larry and Sergey would like to have, but it is inevitable, writes Richard L. Brandt in ‘The Google Guys' . Despite what the company's executives say, Google is no longer just a search company; it is an Internet software company, the author describes. “Larry and Sergey are on a grand quest to provide software for every device that connects to the Internet. Google is, in short, the Microsoft of the Internet generation.”

Brandt reminisces how, years ago, when Microsoft's then-CEO Bill Gates was asked if new developments in technology could make his company obsolete, he scoffed, asserting with an amazing lack of insight to the rising danger of the Internet that as long as there were computers in the world, Microsoft's opportunities would stay strong. “Now, Larry and Sergey could make a similar claim: As long as the Internet is a powerful force in computing, Google's prospects – and the controversies it faces – are limitless.”

The author mentions, for instance, how the ‘Don't be evil' philosophy of Google is being put to its biggest test now as it struggles with the Chinese government over censorship. “When hackers broke into Google customers' e-mail accounts in China in early 2010, Sergey was irate. Saying that the hack targeted Chinese dissidents, he made it clear that he thought the attack had government backing.”

Deciding to pull out of China, the company moved its operations to Hong Kong, where the laws are more liberal, one learns. But it has to renew its licence to continue doing business in China every year, writes Brandt. “Google submitted its application on June 30, 2010, the last day it could file, and Chinese officials were slow to approve it, but did so in the end. Google will face tough scrutiny from China every year. It would not be surprising to see Google lose its licence sometime in the near future.” The author postulates that if Google drops out of China completely, it will be giving up a huge and growing market; and that if compromises, its reputation as a corporation fighting against evil will take a big hit. “The battle of wills is going to be intense and important for Google's future. For Larry and Sergey, it is a constant fight between revenue and principle.”

At the time of writing, a top news find for ‘Google China' is about the launch of a new portal that catalogues group buying deals. “The site is called Google Shihui, which can be translated to mean ‘timely benefit' in English. Google launched the site on Tuesday as a public beta through its Google.cn domain,” reports the technology Web site, PC World .

It cites Mark Natkin, managing director of Beijing-based Marbridge Consulting, for the view that Shihui probably would not draw the attention of China' Internet censors because it relates to e-commerce. “Google is still very interested in growing its business in the China market and has realised in areas like Web search it may face more significant challenges than in less sensitive areas like e-commerce.”

Prescribed read for any techie.


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Published on September 18, 2011
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