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Does Google Need to Buy Every Cool Thing?

There are reports that Digg is really (and finally!) on the block, and that one of the four suitors is – surprise, surprise – Google.

While it might make strategic sense for Google to acquire Digg given its traffic and advertising potential, it just doesn’t feel right that Google seems to snap up every interesting Web service as it strives to control the Internet.

In the past year, for example, Google has bought cool start-ups such as Panoramio, FeedBurner, Adscape, GrandCentral, Postini and Jaiku, while Facebook slipped through its M&A clutches when Microsoft was allowed to buy a teeny-tiny stake for $250-million. (A complete list of Google’s acquisitions can be found here.)

Is it really healthy for the Internet that Google is so dominant and capable of buying anything within its strategic desires? Is the lack of a strong #2 player going to be bad for the Internet’s evolution when you’ve got one company essentially running the market, including its ability to control the economics of many businesses through AdSense.

Maybe we’re starting to enter the anti-Google (AG) era. Look at it this way, Google has gone from cool start-up that came out nowhere into an economic powerhouse with its tentacles increasingly stretching into every nook and cranny on the Web.

This is purely anecdotal but I think there’s some Google Fatigue starting to set in as people grow tired of seeing Google around every corner. For anyone looking to liberate themselves from Google, a good starting point is using a different search engine – a difficult task for many people but perhaps necessary task for Google to be reigned in.

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  • Anonymous

    I think it is just good business and the investors of Google in the early days are probably just sitting back smiling. It also proves an important point… innovation can topple giants. Google knows this and that is why they are attempting to buy every good idea there is. Eventually there will be someone out there that knows they have a good idea and will refuse Google. Then perhaps it will be that “Google Slayer” company you have talked about in the past.

    But as I have said before, as long as the company keeps their products open and free and allows Joe Schmoe to use their stuff at no cost (APIs etc) it can’t truly hurt the little guy. They can’t buy all the greatest ideas, otherwise they would own the Internet (we all know it is too massive to own).

  • Denis

    I’ve found a trend in tech blogs lately: take the name of a popular company (google, facebook, apple), and add “fatigue”. C’mon. Not everything is fatigue-inducing.

  • yes it is

    Yes, “everything is fatigue-inducing” at least when it comes to Google. As with that other in-your-face everywhere company/retailer of java/joe called Starbucsk, Google has gone from a nice startup with a great search engine to just another megalomaniac company, ala Microsoft. In fact, Google is fast becoming the next Microsoft. Maybe not just yet, but perhaps in five years or a decade. I’m already tired to see those annoying Ads by Google on every damn webpage I visit. Does anyone actually click on those often? I’ve never clicked on one; no need to. As far as being toppled by a good idea, yes, it may happen, but not until Google becomes more dominant and monopolistic; when market share reaches critical mass, then people will stop selling out to Google at start protesting it and that ex-government ex-CIA/NSA agent spook named Matt Cutts that promotes himself as Google’s unofficial spokesperson.