Sunday, June 04, 2006

A wet blanket on Google

ForeignPolicy.com features a story that reexamines (mis)conceptions of Google. "Think Again: Google", written by David Vise, questions whether Google can really be called a truly global company, the next Microsoft, and the most inventive force in the world, among other things.

The article tackles sensitive issues which have hounded Google in past months, including its forced cooperation with Chinese authorities for censorship and its mishandling of a CNET reporter who wrote a story on Eric Schmidt using information from...you guessed it, the Google search engine.

Of substantial interest were the obstacles to Google's quest for global ubiquity. In China, not only did it have to accede to censorship, it also has to compete with the government-backed Baidu.com. In Japan, Google is second to the dominant Yahoo! And Google has become so desperate in South Korea that it has had to do something it has never done before: spend money on brand promotion.

Of Google's perceived invincibility, it says: "Clearly, the honeymoon is over for Google. Not only has the darling of search been subject to close government scrutiny, its finances are taking a hit, too.... Google’s absolute refusal to provide Wall Street analysts with any forward-looking financial guidance only compounds the risk, uncertainty, and volatility involved in investing in the company.