Google is prevalent in all forms of online communication and a touchstone for our current generation of internet-loving addicts. The Google marketing machines continue to churn, adding further users to their network. I’m one of them and the list of Google websites that I visit on a daily basis is a purely automatic task, defined by love. I sit at my desk and Google Chat pops up displaying the latest emails and messages from my clique of friends. After I clear out my Gmail (I love clicking ‘delete all’ in the spam section) I instinctively load Google AdWords and begin my day with earnest intent. It’s hard to keep track of the latest Google websites that have been acquired by the mighty search engine giant, as some of the most popular applications that you use on a daily basis are wholly owned by Google – usually at the point when they become too successful for their own good. Let’s not delve into the past (namely Picasa – photo sharing, Android – mobile OS, Youtube – online videos, reCAPTCHA – anti-bot service and so on) but instead concentrate on the new websites that Google are acquiring or has recently acquired. The battle for supremacy rages on!
Protecting our pockets – Groupon
If you are unfamiliar with Groupon then here’s a quick catch-up session for the uninitiated: Groupon IS social media coupons. Sign up with Groupon (available in most countries), enter your details and lo! Fresh coupons based on your location will be delivered to your inbox or smartphone. You then present the coupon to the participating store and reap the rewards. Groupon is a highly social site and most deals are passed along by friends in your community. The Groupon website itself is bright, accessibly and loaded with extras. Therefore Google had no choice but to sink its successful claws into it.
$6 billion is the buyout price that Google has laid on the table. The deal may be cemented as soon as the end of this week, this will then mark Google’s biggest purchase ever – yet in the scheme of things, this is like paying for a new car, as Google is a company whose net worth is close to $200 Billion. If (or when) the deal happens Groupon can expect to enjoy earnings of up to $20 million in revenue per day.
Google is uninterested in the technology that Groupon practically invented, but in the incomparable distribution network that Groupon created from the ground up. This is a multi-billion dollar partnership in the making, what with Google looking to incorporate its ad platform into the Groupon network. If the plan comes together, Google will experience an apocalyptic flood of advertising options and then next, perhaps the world?
Protecting fashion – Boutiques.com
Roughly two weeks ago, Google snapped up Boutiques.com, an online clothing store (women only) that learns from your fashion tastes and slowly builds up a catalogue of clothing that suits your distinctive clothing preferences. None of the items can be brought through Google though, as they only host the product – once you find it Google redirects you to the product page. I tried it for myself and found it easy to use, with a clear interface that pushes clothing searches directly to your profile in seconds flat. Searching for ‘black dress’ displays the types of dresses and then the fashion stores that it can be purchased from – the social aspect comes into play when you ‘like’ or ‘hate’ the product you see. Hovering over the product reveals all of its details such as ways to wear it and matching items that visually suit it. Google completed this website purchase before the Christmas buying season and with some luck; this website may become the definite online shopping store for fashion-conscious women.
Protecting our text messages – Blind Type
Almost none of us knew about this one, but it may just change the very way we perceive touchscreen typing. Typing on touchscreen devices is a hit-or-miss affair with the size of your finger, pressure sensitivity and keyboard recognition all coming into play. What if none of this mattered anymore? Blind Type uses words associated with patterns of dots and ultimately the keyboard becomes a redundant device as your fingers tap patterns into the screen. Tapping the dots near the words produces a list of suggestions that the user can choose from, or simply continue typing as the word is automatically added into their message.
One issue that Google may have in this deal is that other companies such as Apple and FingerWorks have also laid out similar patents for the dot-recognition handwriting technology. Google may have to endure endless court sessions to claim this prize for their collection of websites.
The list of acquired Google websites breeds faster than rabbits in spring. With the purchase of Groupon and similar sites, Google may grasp the foothold on global internet domination that they have aimed for since 1998. What are your thoughts on these subjects? Do you believe that it is in Googles best interest to spend this much money on these websites? We are dying to hear what you think regarding these new Google websites!