I’ll admit it: Google scares me.
We don’t compete with Google (at least not yet <g>), but I’m more concerned with how Google is doing business and the type of data they are collecting. If Microsoft were to do half of what Google is doing they would (a) have the U.S. DOJ and EU all over them (b) privacy people going nuts (c) consumers angry. Somehow Google does not.
The recent announcement of Google providing Urchin, the web analytics software they recently acquired, for free is fantastic. But it also means Google just acquired more of something they love: data about how people visit and use web based software. So far Google runs on my desktop, in my browser (search toolbar), email (GMail), etc.
Companies like Wal-Mart, a giant retailer here in the U.S., is now also starting to view Google as competition, as does Microsoft. Why? Google is able to sift through it’s massive database on consumer profiles and site information and then provide predictive patterns about consumer behavior.
Furthermore, while I can absolutely appreciate free functionality, such as Urchin, it’s a just a bit anti-competitive. Google doesn’t care about selling analytics software, what they really want is usage data.
I like Google, they’ve made the experience of the web better. But, I liked them much better when they were just a search engine.
~= Edit =~
A macro-point which I didn’t clearly make here is that Google is being allowed to do things that Microsoft wouldn’t be allowed to do.