Google became a household word by building better Internet search technology.
But today it touches my business, NewWest.Net, in all kinds of ways that have little to do with finding things online.
Google, in fact, is on the brink of becoming a sort of universal information technology utility for small businesses–a great thing, for the most part, but also a little scary.
Our first Google service (other than basic Internet search, of course) was AdSense, which distributes relevant text ads to partner Web sites and pays them a cut of the revenues.
For most publishers, us included, it’s not a lot of money, and we’ve dialed it down over time as our internal sales picked up.
But the $400 to $500 a month we got from AdSense definitely helped at the beginning, and it was very interesting to see what the Google brain considered most relevant for our audience.
Just a few months ago we switched all of our company e-mail over to Google.
The e-mail addresses are still @NewWest.Net and I still run it through my Apple Mail software.
But Gmail’s Web interface is far superior to what we had on our own server, the spam filtering is better, the backup storage is more robust, and we don’t need to deal with maintenance and support.
And what does Google charge for all these things? Nothing.
I’m not convinced that these things will be free forever, though, and that’s one of the things that make me nervous.
As a business strategy, it would be logical to get people locked into these things and than gradually start charging for them.
On some of the services at least, it would be a big pain in the neck to switch.
Photo by Google.
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