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Google obtains Big Bad Wolf status

By Brian | May 11, 2005 | Share on Facebook

Fred Wilson (link via Jeff Jarvis) wonders if Google has gotten too big.

This is an old tale indeed. When a small company comes out of nowhere to dominate a space, they’re living the American dream. When they get hyper-successful, though, they become giant, evil corporations.

Look at AOL. In the early 1900′s, AOL was the internet’s savior – easy to use, a logical way to pull together existing content, enough heft to draw the big names, etc. As their growth exploded, though, they became known for the “newbie” nature of their members, their agressive marketing campaigns, their network outages, and finally, their sagging stock price.

Microsoft is another example. Bill Gates was a hero in the early 1990′s (think back to Windows 3.1, the first version of Windows that really made it big). Today, of course, Microsoft is responsible for every bad thing on the planet, with the possible exception of world hunger.

It’s jealousy, I tell ya – simple jealousy.

As for Google: I used to hear it referred to as “God’s Mind.” Then the company went public and the founders got stinkin’ rich. And almost instantly it started: Gmail was serving ads based on e-mail content, which was an invasion of privacy. AutoFill was giving certain vendors (like Amazon) preferrential treatment, and was violating copyright ethics by modifying an author’s content without his/her permission. Accelerator is “caching the internet,” a double whammy in that it both captures the web surfing habits of individuals and creates a “walled off community” like AOL did. Isn’t it amazing that none of these problems existed when the company was a “small, privately held firm?”

I’m a big fan of Google (and, full disclosure, a stockholder) because their innovations almost always seem to be based on new and innovative techology. The PageRank system revolutionized search, and has yet to be fully duplicated to my knowledge. GoogleNews’ aggregation concept is a novel one, as is Google Scholar, Google Suggest and others.

The companies from the dotcom bubble days that succeeded (and yes, some of them did) were all characterized with good technology & good implementation first, and good marketing & hype second. IMHO, Google still has that going for it.

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