Is Google a one-trick pony?

Google is sitting on top of the world right now, but a prominent analyst warns that the company's business is based largely on a single service -- Internet search -- and so Google may become a "one-trick pony." Because of that, he says, Google may eventually become irrelevant.

Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group, told Computerworld that

"Underneath it all, Google doesn't think of itself as a search company, even though that's been their big success. They don't want to be just a search company. Ultimately search isn't sustainable. Google search could become irrelevant. You eventually could have specialized search providers or Google search could become part of something else and just fade into the background. The market has a tendency to move and one-trick ponies have a history of not surviving."

Enderle added that he thought that Google's launch of the Nexus One mobile phone was an attempt by the company to expand beyond its primary reliance on search.

The Nexus One launch, though, really isn't about making money out of hardware. As I've written in a previous blog, it's a way to make sure that people can easily use mobile devices to search the Internet using Google, and get other Google services, such as mail and maps.

That's part of Google's overall strategy to ensure that it's getting as much money from search results no matter what device people are using. But it's also an example of why Google will not become a one-trick pony. Expect Google to make a great deal of money out of location-based services for cell phones, in large part through Android, Nexus One, and other Google devices. To use an old business analogy, hardware is the razor, and search and related services are the blades --- and the blades are where the money is.

So will Google become a one-trick pony? Not likely. It's expanding the services it offers. And while at times its launches may seem scattershot, that's not really a problem: When you use a shotgun, not every bit of shot hits the target, but enough do to be effective.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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