It started as a search engine. Then it pioneered a new form of Web advertising that essentially undercut the business of newspapers and magazines. And until recently, we've started thinking of them as the latest maker of an iPhone-alike.
Today Google took another giant leap announcing plans to provide gigabit/second-class Internet access. I'm getting a bit concerned about how big, broad and fast the Googleplex is expanding.
The problem is Google has become a giant corporation overnight. And in our Wall Street driven world public companies are like sharks, they have to keep moving or die.
The rub is at this stage of the game for Google to grow, the Web itself has to grow. That drove the Googlers to compete with their Android partners by becoming a smart phone maker. Now they are going to put their toe in the water of being an Internet service provider as well as the world's biggest Web service.
OK, it may be just an experiment to spur everyone's imagination about the potential for really fast and open networks. Maybe it's a wonderful thing. But I gotta wonder.
Google's "Christmas gift" of free Wi-Fi in select airports made everybody happy—except the services that had been trying to charge for wireless access. I notice even McDonalds that once tried to pioneer a business in selling Wi-Fi now makes it free.
Google wants everything that touches the Net to be free so they can get more eyeballs and make more billions with AdSense and other services. I realize it is not chic to say it, but free is not a business model unless—as in Google's case—it generates a really big market where you can sell other stuff.
So what happens when really fast Internet access becomes free? I predict service becomes really crummy because no one will have money for maintenance and upgrades.
Beware of Googlers bearing gifts. What's next, an online alternative to democracy—Google Government?