The weekend has been pretty interesting. I saw rebounds regarding Google and its shenanigans all across social networks and the Internet in general, and then woke up this morning to read more in print. Led to some light thinking on the matter, and I tried breaking these thoughts into three distinct and debatable trends that I have noticed about the BigO.

One champion for your business

On Saturday, Steve Rubel interviewed Jeff Jarvis’ about his new book, What Would Google Do? In the book, Jarvis breaks down Google’s practices into 12 distinct rules and then applies them to aging industries like media and advertising. Denuo/Publicis’s Rishad Tobaccowala points out how Google served an entirely new population of advertisers who didn’t have agencies and that enabled it to set new rules. Google sells performance instead of scarcity (a lesson the rest of media must learn in this post-scarcity economy). Because it rewards relevance, it encourages better, more effective advertising.

One number in your life

I picked up today’s newspaper and there’s Google again with its mega plans to unify the masses. Launched on March 5th, Google Voice is all set to revolutionize telephones.It unifies your phone numbers, transcribes your voice mail, blocks telemarketers and elevates text messages to first-class communication citizens. And that’s just the warm-up. Google Voice began life in 2005 as something called GrandCentral. It was, in its own way, revolutionary. More on it here.

One fellow to help you out on the web

If search wiki wasn’t enough, Google now has made available the “preferred site” option to all its users. The service allows users to overweight certain web sites in the search engine result pages. Once you sign up, Google recommends pages from your history that you tend to visit when searching. You have the option to make these sites (or any other) a preferred destination.

Without even getting into the whole business/ SEO/ SEM discussion, I can only hope that you can turn it off – Half the fun about search is the fact that you can find the “unexpected” and stuff you haven’t seen before. I mean what is “search”, if you know what you’re gonna get?

One person who knows you better than you yourself!

So you worried just about how your search data was painting a DNA of who you are? Google  released 11 software applications for mobile phones that spell a fundamental change in our lives. Among the applications were functions such as text messaging, web browsing, a diary, Orkut – the company’s social networking offering – and Latitude, a GPS-based service that tracks you wherever you go. Innocent enough, perhaps. But combined they would allow Google to know what you are doing all of the time. A truly Orwellian development that has been described by privacy campaigners as “a catastrophic corruption of consent”.

Far-fetched? Not at all. The mobile phone industry has for years seen the potential for a rich market to develop in location-based services if only it could get its customers to agree. Google, on the other hand, has decided to take advantage of that market and it has sought to do so by appearing to be helpful. The rationale is simple – offer a service for free and the customer will not notice that they have given a company the right to know where they are at any time.

So now – considering the above, what do you think?

  1. Google is well on its way to create the “Empire
  2. Google is doing what all enterprises should do – consistently better their offering
  3. Google is retrograding the whole “Internet” story it fed on by killing basics like “free spirit”, “openness”, “surprises”, “sense of wonder” et al