Sometimes it takes three separate pieces of information to connect the dots.

There are many ways how you can change your business model. But there are only few ways to change a business model successfully as you try to screw over your customers and – simultaneously – change the rules of the overall game.

Google tries exactly that right at the moment.

Apart from its role in the notorious Prism scandal (among others), I found three articles particularly interesting lately.



  • google is killing organic search currently, replacing it with paid for ranking mechanisms. There are many ways how you can be ranked by the world’s number 1 search engine. But as Tutorspree and others found out: google does only show something in between 0% and 13% organic searches. The rest is Maps and – primarily – paid for ads. That sounds bad? It gets worse
  • google sacrifices successful tools for a centralized google+ environment: As Marco Arment argues: “Google Reader is just the latest casualty of the war that Facebook started, seemingly accidentally: the battle to own everything.” As google Reader represented the technically and conceptually open Web 2.0 standard (you remember?) it simply had to go – it does not fit into google’s concept anymore. “they want to lock you in, shut out competitors, and make a service so proprietary that even if you could get your data out, it would be either useless (no alternatives to import into) or cripplingly lonely (empty social networks).”
  • This argument is supported by google misinterpreting its own data as it tries to make us believe google Reader was not a successful platform. As Marco highlights: ‘Google killed Reader because “over the years usage has declined”’. Really?  If BuzzFeed is right, then it was google reader which dwarfed google+ up to the very last day of its existence. The “network, a set of tracked partner sites that collectively have over 300 million users, Google Reader was a major source of traffic right up until it was closed. In fact, in its last few months, traffic from Google Reader increased by 6%.”

google is in a major process of remodeling its product. In fact it leaves its core as a more or less objective search engine behind and is in the process of building a centralized, paid for environment. An environment that allows brands and institutions to participate if they are willing to pay, if they are willing to use google tools, etc.

And this is a dangerous process: More centralization, more top-down-dominance, more monopolism: the web has grown up and the idea of Web 2.0 is in fact dead. As a simultaneous process to Prism we are again facing a major struggle to define what this Internet is going to be in the future: a copy of a reality in which a few big players dictate what is happening, controlled by a dominant state? Or is it going to be the open idea that all of us loved so much. I think it’s our choice.

Image LicenseAttribution Some rights reserved by therichbrook