The Corner

Google Tipping Point

Interesting email re yesterday’s post:

Dear Mr. Goldberg,

I’m one of those crazy dot-com entrepreneurs so if this topic is of

any interest to you hee are my thoughts…

Prof. Reynolds says, “Google should be a lot more worried about this

than it seems to be — all you need to do to take your business

elsewhere is type a different URL.” The same could effectively be said

about Coke and Pepsi, which are usually located next to each other in

stores, and are, for all practical purposes, 100% equivalent

products*. Google, on the other hand, established itself 5-6 years ago

by utterly demolishing the competition in terms of quality (i.e. speed

and accuracy) and has largely maintained this lead**. So switching

does not merely require one to cope with changing his/her brand

affiliation, but to accept an inferior product. Not. Gonna. Happen.

* I happen to prefer the flavor of Coke to Pepsi, especially in the

diet version, but I also happen to like Coke’s brand personality

better. I like to think that I buy soft drinks based purely on taste,

but don’t we all like to think we’re too clever to get manipulated by


** The story of how Google went from PhD thesis to $100bn market cap

in about a decade is a classic tale of missed opportunities. It took

the technology companies until at least 2002 to take Google seriously,

and the media companies didn’t really start doing so until late 2005

when they saw the billions in ad money flowing online, never to return

to print or broadcast. Indexing the whole Internet is a decent-sized

challenge and so it will take years for anyone to catch up. Yahoo

still largely stinks, while the new MS Live is promising, and AOL’s

latest shows an example of innovating in a different directions,

results TBD.

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