Thursday, April 4, 2013

Google: Whither Goest Thou?

When I was young my father was on the New York Police Department and my life was surrounded by NYPD, FBI, NY State Police and other kinds of law enforcement types. Getting information was at the heart of seeking out the bad guys. So as a young lad I was taught how to get information from the best sources; sales clerks, secretaries, mail men, gasoline station attendants, receptionists, security guards. First they liked the attention and second they were privy to things that contained phenomenal value if you knew what to look for and how to assemble it.

So how does this old way of intelligence gathering relate to Google? Not exactly as you may think. I was at MIT last Saturday and the streets were all blocked. It was a mess. It has been that was for weeks, and will continue that way. Why? Go ask the sales clerk.

Thus when I started to talk with the Coop sales staff the vitriol came out. It was Google! They were building walkways between their buildings across streets so the Google people do not have to go outside and mix with the rabble. They can stay with their own kind, at least that was what I was informed. Arrogance?

Well just look at the NY Times today and some Google employee stating:

“What Google is beginning to do is share some of the knowledge in the world that humans have in their minds,” said ... a Google fellow, “so users can begin to communicate with Google in a way that’s much more natural to their thinking.” 

 Frankly I have read this a dozen times and really cannot understand what he is saying, but alas it is my experience that as a company ages it degrades. Now take Google, its search is being disintermediated by "appliances" task specific search systems, that solve a specific problem at a specific time and in a specific place.

Yet when Google tried to expand, it seemed to be successful in Android, an operating system, but the Nexus is in my opinion a disaster due to Asus, a 30%+ failure rate again ascertained by speaking with multiple Staples sales staff. My Kindles and iPads work like a charm, and despite letters to the Chairman at Google, someone who I had worked with extensively on a Presidential Commission with, no response. If it were Hyatt, Honda, Kraft, or Fidelity I would have a reply, if it were Verizon Seidenberg may actually have called. Yet Google is above all that.

So where is Google going, is it still a modified one trick pony, albeit with a lot of cash? Will it become a Microsoft, which is in effect a utility company, the only innovation Microsoft does is akin to the electric utility deciding to install peppermint colored utility polls.  So just where is Google going?

After all they appear not to want their people to get cold, wet, or associate with the common person.