Google wants to own online relationships

12 Sep 2005|Leigh Marinner

There is an interesting shift afoot in the PC industry. Google wants to bring consumers into its ecosystem as soon as they open their PC, and completely bypass the Windows desktop ecosystem. In this model, the PC and Windows are just a conduit to the web, necessary only to manage the hardware and peripherals, and Google is akin to an internet operating system. Google is following an integrated model offering many services in one place (not unlike what Microsoft did with Office on the PC) so a home PC user can do most of what they want to do from the Google platform. Google uses each of its services to promote its other services – search, mail, blog, social networking, photo management, shopping, TV and movies, etc.

Handling photos is a good example. Consumers are confused over what software to use to save, edit, organize and print their photos. Google offers Picasa for free and positions it as the place to start when downloading digital photos. Then consumers can use Hello to photo-share and chat, or Blogger, or attach a photo to an email. Google may be able to monetize this consumer traffic by passing consumers on to printing sites for a share of revenue, plus they get advertising revenue on their site based on number of eyeballs.

This scenario could end with consumer’s primary emotional attachment and brand identification on the PC being with Google. Will we see a $200 Google PC that accesse the web, supports email and IM, manages photos, schedules and online shopping and integrates with your mobile phone?

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