Oh, Google. As usual, the Internet giant spent the week kicking out new releases while forging through the flames of trash talking. Read on for the latest deets on Google's rumored social layer, an accidentally leaked cloud storage service, and why the whole Groupon thing might be the best idea ever.
Groupon + Google = Changing the Game
Google’s pending purchase of Groupon has got many a geek in a tizzy, particularly over the price tag: A whopping US$ 6 billion. Should Groupon sell for the purported sum, it would be the second most expensive transaction in the history of private venture-backed companies, exceeded only by the US$ 7 billion sale of Cerent to Cisco in 1999.
With such numbers on the line, the mounting criticisms are no surprise: The bid signals Google’s desperation, Groupon’s human-intensive sales model doesn’t jive with the Internet giant’s, antitrust investigations, Facebook’s possible retaliation-- the list goes on.
But what about the good stuff? After all, Google’s a lot of things, but “dumb” certainly isn’t one of them. Consider the question that Niel Robertson, CEO of Trada, asked himself when Google last shelled out a surprising sum: Could Google spend three billion dollars any other way to catch up to YouTube?
The conclusion I came to was simply ‘no’. Metcalfe’s law is at work every day on the Internet and one of the things about Metcalfe’s law is that once you get big enough, you basically are unassailable until a completely new model comes along. YouTube was, at that point, unassailable.
And get this: it still is. Even though Google still provides its own video service, right along with popular sites like Facebook, YouTube is still number one.
Should we consider Groupon the YouTube of coupon sites? Possibly. The company has a reported US$ 500 million annual run rate in revenue after a mere two years of operation, and is on track to leap 50% in 2011. If you can name another coupon site with numbers even close to that, you deserve a cookie.
Robertson goes on to point out the rise in popularity of location-based technologies, as well as the perks that will surely come with advertising distribution. From this angle, the move doesn’t sound like such a bad idea. Plus, purchasing Groupon now would ensure that it won’t end up in the hands of competitors like Microsoft or Amazon.