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The Competitive Implications of Google's "Wide Net"

In Friday’s edition of Canadian Business, Jeff Beer ponders the consumer impact of “Google Now,” writing: “Now might be the first Google product that screams loud and proud just how much the company knows about you—and how much more it wants to know.”

Why is that information important from a competition perspective? Well, put simply, it’s the key to Google maintaining its monopoly position in search and search advertising.

As Beer notes: “Google’s $40 billion in yearly revenues doesn’t come from these futuristic gadgets. The engine that powers its bottom line is advertising, and that engine runs on knowledge about you: your interests, schedule, family, friends, work, troubling cat-video obsession and everything you’ve ever bought or wanted to buy. Every new scrap of knowledge helps Google advertise to you better.”

Consumer Watchdog’s John Simpson echoes this point: “We are not Google’s customers. We’re Google’s product. We use their services, that are now all combined, creating a digital dossier on us that becomes the real product offered to advertisers.”

So what’s next in Google’s quest to “know more”? That’s anyone’s guess. But this infographic, posted yesterday by Business Insider, reveals just how far the company is casting its net.

One thing’s for sure: it’s a long way from the search engine that once said “We want to get you out of Google and to the right place as fast as possible.”