Google on the Move

Google is on the move again, continuing to snap up companies at a fast pace, and introduce new beta products to compete against the likes of Microsoft. Did you hear about their recent acquisition of DoubleClick, at a price tag of $3.1 billion dollars? You might not have, as the public announcement came out at the close of business day on Friday the 13th. It seems a bit strange to make such a big announcement on a late Friday afternoon. Just in time for the New York Stock Exchange to be closed, and the weekend to be starting. Timing is everything, perhaps.

DoubleClick, an online advertising agency based in Manhattan, has a few skeletons in its closet. Back in 2000, DoubleClick was at the center of Internet privacy controversy, relating to tracking personal names along with user behavior on the internet, via cookies. Initiating this controversy, in June 1999 DoubleClick acquired Abacus, a traditional direct marketing company. Abacus had a database of offline personal contact information of people subscribing to mail order magazines. In 2000, following a steep drop in stock prices and amidst a remaining black cloud of controversy, former CEO Kevin O'Connor stepped down. Could Google be immune to people being concerned about privacy?

Back in November 2006, Google acquired online video giant You Tube for $1.65 billion dollars. Today, You Tube still remains its own website, and has yet to integrate with Google's own video service, Google Video. However, the graphic design between the two sites is starting to look more and more alike.

Google has also been introducing new beta products at a pretty quick clip. Recently, they announced the debut of their beta office line of applications, to be used online of course. Included in the office suite are many products which mirror Microsoft Office applications. Though publicly stating they are not intending to go head to head with Microsoft, in a recent announcement, Google said they are working on a competitor product for Microsoft PowerPoint. Google's email product, Gmail, is proving to be a decent competitor for personal users, but is not making much headway in the corporate office world.

If you're looking for web analytics, Google offers Google Analytics as a free service to webmasters. Back in 2005, Google bought Urchin, a metrics tracking company. Urchin used to charge around $200 for use of their stats package. Google is currently giving it away for free. In exchange for placing a few lines of Google code on your website pages, you receive access to an online dashboard of graphs and data to illustrate your website traffic, visitor behavior, and geo segmentation of your site audience.

Is there anything Google can't do? In a press release this week, consulting company Millward Brown announced that Google has now surpassed Microsoft as the number 1 brand in the world. What's next?

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