Me? I’m immersed in Google services, but I worry that handy new features will arrive in a steady stream of minor changes that are all but imperceptible until one day I wake up and realize that Google has access to everything that makes me who I am.
Advertising has been good to Google. But as the company becomes more than a search engine, it’s got a choice to make about its revenues in the future: should it emphasize selling services rather than selling advertising?
The ongoing death of newspapers is not about changes in journalism, or the need for them. It is about a business model that has ceased to be relevant in the face of present technology. It used to be a poorly kept secret, but amid a vast array of competing histories, it’s been forgotten like last year’s canceled NBC sitcoms: What made newspapers successful was never the news. Newspapers provided vital services in people’s lives: their connections with their hometown, the notices of local events, the daily topics of conversation, the latest thoughts hovering over Snoopy’s head as he snored atop his doghouse. Many of these services were syndicated, and those that were not - like the classified ads - were intensely well managed. The front page, and the headlines therein, were merely the container…
…The Internet commandeered the services that newspapers once championed and delivered each of these services on an a la carte basis. In an earlier era, it made sense to bundle these services in a single package - the newspaper - and deliver it fully assembled. Today, the Web itself is the package, and each of the services now competes against other similar services in separate, often healthy, markets. And this is as it should be - this is not somehow wrong…
…There is no rational business model that can be formed around solely the production of news, just as many artists will attest that there is no stable business model around just an artist producing art that does not involve dying first. News must be bundled with a service. And that’s a problem, because the Web model is to unbundle everything, reduce every service to its basic and fundamental form, and present it to you as a site or, more recently, as an app. If you ask southern California venture capitalists what types of investments they’re searching for, they’ll tell you they’re looking for that one thing - not six things bundled together, not three existing things that complement one another. One disruptive thing.
And that thing tends to omit the word “news.
The contrast of resilient TV spending and waning budget allocations to other traditional media was plainly evident at the end of 2011,” said Jon Swallen, SVP of research at Kantar Media Intelligence North America. “Some mature digital media formats were also touched by the year-end tide of reduced spending. Whether this is an isolated occurrence or an early sign of digital dollars moving more quickly towards emerging and unmeasured digital platforms bears watching as 2012 unfolds.
Search Engine Watch, March 13, 2012
Paid search spending was down 6.4% compared to Q4 ‘10. Indeed it remains to be seen whether this was just a blip or the beginning of this category’s long-term decline. If so it explains Google’s desperation to get into Social Media at any price.