My nephew asked me recently, “What is Google”? It’s really quite difficult to summarize in a sentence, isn’t it? Some say it’s a search engine company. Others say it’s an Internet application company. Lately it’s become a software company and it briefly ventured into the hardware company arena (i.e. Nexus 1). Finally it has moved full steam ahead into a hardware company with its purchase of Motorola Mobility.
Taking a step back and looking at what they really do, Google has transformed itself into, at the end of the day, a telecommunications company. Webster’s defines telecommunications as: “communication at a distance”. Wikipedia defines telcommunications as “The transmission of information over significant distances to communicate.”
Almost all of Google’s services fit these descriptions, although perhaps not in the traditional sense. Google makes it ridiculously easy for people asking questions to get “the best” answers via their search engine and sponsored ads platform. Their Android platform allows users to communicate with others via cell-phone and tablet. Their Google Docs applications allow users to communicate with co-workers and customers at no cost. Their gMail application allows users to…well you get the idea.
Google has even begun building experimental, ultra high-speed broadband networks. Oh my! http://www.google.com/appserve/fiberrfi/
Enter Google +1. Google +1 offers the same simple and free communications benefits that all their other applications offer. Google +1 allows users to communicate more effectively with the world. Specifically, it allows users to target audiences what they want to talk to, and allows users to filter out those users that it doesn’t want to hear. The coolest feature of Google +1, Hangouts, is the feature that is certainly striking fear into the hearts of both Skype (now Microsoft) and Facebook: Hangouts.
Hangouts allow video conferencing with multiple users simultaneously. Skype charges a premium for this capability (although probably not for long now). Facebook video chat only allows 1 on 1 chats. It is interesting that this news hasn’t caused more shockwaves throughout the telecom community. Like everything Google, it is so easy to use and so easy to share with your friends and business associates alike. It’s even easier to use than Skype, which this author didn’t know was even possible.
With Google +1, you can easily start video conferencing with 9 of your friends/coworkers/employees in a matter of seconds – no phone numbers or user names to remember. It’s only a matter of time before Google introduces a free screen sharing application of the GoToMeeting.com variety. When this service arises for free, Google will stand an entire telecom market on its head, once again.
Simplicity, creativity, elegance, and free-service: these seem to be the Google way. As long as Google keeps printing money with its sponsored ads, patents, and other paid-for technologies, there is really no end in site for how Google’s free services will simultaneously disrupt and add massive value to the telecommunications industry.