Google: noun. The number 10 raised to 100 (10^100), or 1 followed by 100 zeros.
The above definition isn’t the first thing I associate with Google. Rather, I like everyone else with internet literacy knows Google is a multifaceted tool of learning, communication and innovation. I say this in confidence because in the last four years Google as tied for no. 1 place of “most trusted company”.
At first glance Google can be perceived as a horizontally integrated firm owning communication applications (Gmail, Google+ and Drive), marketing applications (AdWords, Finance and Google Analytics) and recreational applications (YouTube, Google Play and Hangouts).
Did you know that Google is moving towards vertical integration? Google created an inexpensive notebook, known as the Google Cromebook, which exclusively runs on internet based Google applications. Additionally Google is testing out their own internet providing services. In the summer of 2013, New Zealand played host to “Project Loon” which launched 30 balloons into the stratosphere to bring people a 3G-comparable internet connection for 25-miles around.
In the United States Google has selected test-cites to implement similar “Project Loon” internet connections. These implementations are called “Fiberhoods“. Google is building infrastructure and laying cables to bring fiberhoods faster internet connections.
In Kansas City Mo., Google was criticized in late April (2014) by community officials who had evidence that that implementing internet access in affluent neighborhoods is widening the gap between wealthy and minorities/elderly. The problem facilitating the criticism was Google was unable to reach, and then gain sing-up for service informaiton, from people without internet access. Furthermore Google didn’t have the ability to sign-up for internet service in a paper form. In other words people who could sing-up for fiberhoods were switching from one internet service provider to another.
Bridging the gap between people with internet access and without internet access proved to be a challenge Google had not anticipated. But Google used a very unique PR outreach after the issue had been brought to their attention.
Like a bookmobile or ice cream truck, Google took a van to neighborhoods whose residents may not have regular access to internet. The vans purpose was to gain registration to expand the fiberhood across Kansans City.
Now Kansas City may feel like hundred of miles away to all of my Oregon friends, but it’s important to keep tabs on the Google fiberhoods because one could be coming to Portland, Ore. very soon.
Infact there are nine proposed locations for the next Google Fiber City.
So what does this mean for the future of online existence? What will happen when the internet provider also provides email, search engine, video player, books and App store? I am going to make an educated guess and say that people will have to relay on public relations consultants to manage and define their identity online.
Right now, it is common for PR practitioners to have their legal name on everything, but I wonder if that will change in the next 10 to 20 years. Perhaps everyone will adopt a pseudonym for security measures, and only leave their legal name for official records (have an SSN isn’t enough these days). It would be reasonable for everyone to use a pen-name while online, especially as Google infiltrates more of our lives. I will blog more about pseudonyms in July 2014.
With Google establishing itself with horizontal integration and vertical integration, image management will begin playing a big roll in how we interact with the company we trust our electronic communication, and our lives, to.
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