Google Plunges, No Joke

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 31, 2006

Only a month ago, I made some mock predictions, though I actually expected this first one on the list to happen—just not so soon:

* Google’s stock price will fall after its profit growth plummets to 80%, prompting a spate of hand-wringing magazine cover stories on “what’s gone wrong” at Google.

Today, Google just announced that its profits rose a mere 82%. The stock’s down as much as 19% after-hours. No magazine stories yet, but give it time. As amazing a company as Google is (and make no mistake, it still is), you have to wonder about those 29 analysts with buys on the stock. It just seems like no company could live up to the high expectations forever.

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Reader Comments

Linda Lowson

February 1, 2006 11:30 AM

Google and its competitors have facilitated the delivery of information and resources to all segments of our society, but that is where their value proposition stops for the user. They have failed to help us utilize these resources so that we can truly benefit from having this instantaneous access.

Some wonder why Google has been able to command such a high level of loyalty. The answer is twofold: the lack of a differentiated alternative, and the power of the Google brand. Google has been a master at building its brand through a constant bombardment of media news and messages, fueled in part by analyst enthusiasm for its rapid revenue and profit growth. However, Google’s extraordinary financial success has been achieved largely because it has focused upon increasing advertising revenues rather than improving the quality and value of the search experience.

Truth be told, Search is still in the stonemason age and has yet to build a great cathedral. The Search platform, properly designed, is the ideal vehicle for educating the individual and activating need-based relationships because it has become the mainstream information-gathering process of choice.

The key question that present and future Search leaders should be asking is: how do you create a Search platform that actually delivers on all three profound capabilities of the Internet? Currently, the vast majority of search results is driven by algorithms based upon key word-driven “relevance” and “popularity”, providing the user with search results that are not only inaccurate and imprecise, but also gives him no ability to ascertain whether the links retrieved fulfill his requirements as to quality or other characteristics.

Further, even the “specialized” vertical search engines currently fail to utilize industry-specific standards, guidelines, or reference points in retrieving search results, and, for those sites providing product ratings and reviews, the qualitative “evaluation” is based upon “social intelligence”—personal opinions of the applicable web user population.

What is needed are smart tools that educate, personalize, and add intelligence to the search process, tools that enable the user to view search results in a consistent and rational manner and make higher quality, more efficient and effective decisions.

The quiet but growing revolution in the vertical search space, led by small, entrepreneurial companies, will deliver a progressively better value proposition. As consumers gravitate and then flock to these new specialized search portals, the Big Three will have no choice but to get on the bandwagon, but by then they will have lost their stranglehold, and their dissipating market leadership may be irreversible.

The newly empowered individual has created a new breed of marketplace—one which is relentless in its customer-driven innovation and service excellence. In the media world where “differentiated content” is and will continue to be king, the stage is set for the next wave of Search leaders.

C

February 1, 2006 02:09 PM

You've fulfilled the second part of your prediction by having your colleague write this story - http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/feb2006/tc20060201_270126.htm

What you're not predicting is how quickly the stock will rebound.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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