All eyes were on Google Thursday as the technology giant reported second-quarter earnings.
And for good reason.
Google is clearly the most important technology company in the world right now.
Lulu and I are helping prepare a special program on Google that you will hear more about soon, and we’ve made a few trips recently to “Googleplex” in Mountain View, California. I must say, it is an incredibly exciting place.
I’m sure you’ve heard about the many perks Google provides for its employees, all in the name of fostering innovation – free food, massages, a gym, pool tables, the legendary lava lamps, and more. In fact, innovation is such a part of the culture there that employees are asked so spend 20% of their time exploring new and different ideas that may not even fall under their normal job description.
It’s certainly been a successful formula so far. Nearly all of Google’s revenue, 95 percent, comes from search, a market it dominates. And while it’s easy to think they couldn’t possibly do anything more with search, the company is busy figuring out how to take it to the next level.
The big theme right now is mobility. There are 800 million PCs in the world, but there are three billion mobile phones, so that’s where the growth is. In my interviews with CEO Eric Schmidt and others, I heard more about what we can expect from Google in the future. I must say, it’s fascinating.
Say you are out shopping and you see a great pair of shoes that you want to buy, but you’re not sure about the price. You’ll be able to take a picture of them, send it to Google, and they’ll come back to you saying, “Don’t buy those shoes where you are because right around they block they are $40 cheaper.”
Here’s another example. You’re in the mood for a burger at lunch, so you search for hamburger joints. The next day at lunch, based on your burger search, Google sends you an email saying the best pizza place in the state is right near you. Just make a right, left and another right and you’re there. Oh, and here are the last 10 comments from users along with the menu. Of course, there will be advertisements attached, which is how Google will make its money.
Investors have always looked at innovation to drive growth. I think that’s especially true now when the government has a hand in so many businesses. There is a concern that innovation will be hampered. I think it’s fair to say that won’t be the case at Google anytime soon.
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