Google and The Art of War
Business is warfare. This is a capitalist society, let’s not forget that. If you are to be successful in business you have to go to war with your competition. Look at the terminology- Tactics, strategies, campaigns; its warfare. The oldest and most studied successful theory on warfare was written by Sun Tzu about 2600 years ago and it still holds true today. How does Google play into all this? Google is implementing the Art of War masterfully. Lets look at some of the basic premises of the art of war and we’ll give you our take in more detail.
The Art of War states if you know these 5 things you can predict the outcome of any battle.
1. The Moral Law – Make sure your soldiers obey wholeheartedly. Google, while giving the impression that it is open, is a closed society. Trade secrets and the special sauce called the algorithm dictate this.
2. Heaven – This signifies the business climate. As the leader in the industry, Google can mostly dictate this as well.
3. Earth – this is where Google really thrives, as they should. They own Google Earth. LOL This tenet speaks about the battlefield specifically. Security, danger, and all that goes with the business terrain.
4. The Commander – Strictness and benevolence. Keeping ideas and information secretive and close to the vest has always been another strong suit.
5. Method and Discipline – Until recently I would have given them an A+ in this matter. They seem to be stretched fairly thin at this point. Are their armies disciplined enough to keep up the fight? I think so.
Let’s look at the current state of affairs that Google faces:
- The Microsoft Yahoo deal is coming along but is an unknown quantity. Google has its spies I’m sure. Are they worried? Probably not worried; but watching, definitely.
- Facebook is the juggernaut that Google was 5 years ago. Facebook forces them to fight a reactive fight on the Social Media Front. This steals resources and keeps them in catch up mode.
- Social Media has been an elusive prize for the search giant. Buzz flopped. Their Wave has closed out, (pun intended.) Orkut is all but unknown in the US. Nice try.
- YouTube continues to be a shining star in the Google's crown and Docs have taken much of the Microsoft war chest away – thus decreasing Microsofts ability to fight.
- Adwords continues to be the Jewel. This allows Google to partake in all their nominal and pet projects as well as finance the dynasty.
- Local Search would seem to be the next evolution of the Search algorithm but Google appears lost here. Testing and monetizing the Maps with tags is weak and feeble. A chink in the armor? Their maps algorithm has been spammed since its inception and their results are a joke. It could get worse before it gets better. Foursquare and GoWalla have teamed up with Facebook who we hear has plans for it’s own search engine as well as the recent release of their own Places product for local search.
- Mobile Oh, did we forget to mention Apple? The IPod, IPad, IPhone and all the Appleites are out there still. Apple has had a few missteps recently but their followers are devout. See our Apple post about this. Google has its hands full and it is fighting this war on many fronts. Does it have the ability to fend off all the legal actions, its competitors, the regulators, the public? Time will tell.
A look at the Google acquisitions since its inception below. This is a fantastic infographic found at http://www.scores.org. It gives an overview of Google’s battlefield strategy.
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