Today it was announced that Google is acquiring the Norwegian firm Global IP Solutions, which focuses on VoIP and videoconferencing solutions. I have been thinking recently about Google’s foray into the web as a media-rich dynamic platform, and it seems almost as if the company is focusing on a “change or die” mantra when it comes to the static web, a place where for the past decade Google has made immense profits.
The Google I/O conference, which kicks off tomorrow, is a great example of this, coupled with the fact that the Global IP Solutions acquisition is clearly aimed towards collaborative resources that extend way beyond just chat and email. The challenging thing for Google is going to be indexing and advertising these types of features, something that is at the very core of its business model.
As anyone who uses YouTube knows, it isn’t exactly intuitive to find the videos that you are looking for. That problem has been addressed somewhat this year, but I still find the UI a bit cumbersome to navigate. With that being said, though, YouTube has enjoyed a tremendous boost in advertising, which bodes well for the original purpose of Google buying it back in 2006.
But how does Google go about keeping track of videos hosted on other sites like Hulu, Vimeo and Justin.tv? How does it make a profit from its foray into VoIP? Only time will tell, but it will take innovation to make sure that the free model persists in these areas. It’s clear that a continuation away from the simple text that oddly enough Google has turned in a cash machine will proceed as newer platforms like Android and Chrome OS offer a new way to enjoy Google’s low-cost applications and services.