Hello, I want to talk about Google.  Google is a fascinating company and one that we all take a great interest in.  We probably all use Google Search.  It’s established a stat of the searches.  I noticed now being attacked quite a lot by Bing and Yahoo who are retaining some of their market.  It’s also a major player in the email business with Google Mail.  It’s now attacking the Microsoft Office business with Google Docs and also attacking the Microsoft operating system with Android.  So we’re seeing all these things happening for it operating in the office space and the business space.  But it’s also in the social networking space where it’s endeavoring to establish itself as a real alternative to Facebook.  And it’s got lots of things just recently introduced, Buzz.  It’s in the past introduced other things like Wave, Slide, Orkut in India, and it’s recently bought a company called Post Rank for doing social analytics to analyze this sort of structure.  So it’s endeavoring to go into Facebook space and causing Facebook some great concerns.  Recently Facebook employed Burson-Marsteller to do a public relations situation to criticize what Google is doing with social circles, which is a bit surprising since social circle doesn’t exist; it’s a rumor that things may happen with a new social networking system.  And so we watch that to see how it’s attacking into that space and endeavoring to go more in social networking area which will then link up with all the contact information its got in Google Mail, etcetera.

So we see things happening in that but the main thing that I’m concerned about, and also intrigued about with Google, is advertising.  And it appears that endeavoring to become the biggest company in the world in the advertising business.  It created this with one of its best achievements ever, AdWords, which fundamentally changed the whole way we do advertising on the internet and also made Google a huge, huge bundle of money and continues to do so.  It’s the main area of financial input for Google.  But they developed this with acquisitions and developments to increase their position within the advertising business.  Double Click is an online advertising agency and Double Click Exchange for exchanging advertising.  Invite Media, a company it bought last year, in what they call the “Demand Site Platform” to allow networks and advertiser to buy and share advertising, where they can actually define how they want their clicks to be used, where they’re to be used and the priority of the clicks and the payment for the clicks depending on the user.  So this little structure where they can actually make use all the content information they have and the knowledge for contacts to work to improve the way they can supply advertising.  

It recently bought a company in the UK called Beat That Quote. Beat That Quote is a comparison site to allow you to compare financial details like mortgages, etcetera, for buying a mortgage.  It will analyze everything in the marketplace and come back with suggestions.  So where’s that going to fit in to the Google space? 

It’s also got One Pass, a system to allow micro-payments for publishers for content.  So it’s got a whole range of things it’s putting together.  And this is what my concern is coming in thinking.  Now they got all these tools and they got this huge amount of data.  Now don’t you think every time you do a search on Google, you’re going to find that your information is stored.  So they know precisely what you’ve been searching for.  So for example let’s say that people are searching for a particular type of holiday and they’re looking on Google for that.  Now Google knows precisely all these people are looking for this particular type of holiday, how valuable is that to then sell that data to a direct marketing company; to actually use that.  And this brings in the situation; Google is in direct marketing.  And you start thinking in terms of if they’re in direct marketing, and they got this huge amount of data, what happens if they start leveraging all the content they got from searches, etcetera together with the advertising content and putting that together, what a powerful, dominant, monopolistic organization it can become.  And I have a concern as to what they will do in that sort of area.  And I’m not the only person who has that concern.  They have history.  Example, last year the Federal Trade Commission has got permission to carry out privacy audits on Google for the next 20 years because of Google breaking its own laws in the use of contact in areas they should not be using.  

So let us see what happens on that.  Google is building a dominant position.  Facebook wants to try and get in the advertising space but it’s not been very successful at this stage in comparison with Google.  So let us see what’s going to happen in the future.  I think Google is a fascinating company, brilliant at what they do but most of the stuff they’re doing these days seems to be by acquisition with the funds that they got and this huge amount of money they’re making out of advertising.  But where are they going to go for the future?  Are they getting to monopolistic?  Should we consider the break-up of Google?  Now no one’s talked about this yet whereas we’ve been talking for years about the break-up of Microsoft and Microsoft has lots of legal actions against it for the things it does in monopolistic situations.  Now Google’s getting to that situation shortly.  Are we going to expect to see legal action taken against Google in the future?  I don’t know.  I’m just speculating but anyway it’s very interesting to think where does Google go of the future.

Thanks very much indeed. This is Andy Trivia.