A tip – and some armchair theorising about Google

The internet is where you go for armchair theorising about the internet and Google. Here’s a tip and some armchair theorising about Google.

Firstly I run two businesses – a discount mortgage broker and an economic policy consultancy. Neither couldn’t have existed in the form they do within the internet.

In fact when I set them up I did occasionally allow myself the ridiculous boast that I was “setting up an internet business” but only if I thought the person I was talking to was silly enough to believe me. I certainly didn’t believe it. I figured that for the businesses I was launching a mortgage broker and an economic policy consultancy that the ‘internet’ stuff was just an add on. A very handy bit of technology.

Then I got my first e-mail from Pakistan offering to redesign my site for peanuts. And I realised that there really was something new going on. Typical me I caught up with all the wave of hype after it had washed over me and crashed.

Anyway, the mortgage broker runs a database which is hosted from Texas and accessible around the country to mortgage brokers. We used to use MSN messenger but switched to Yahoo because of superior functionality. Well another switch is coming. I’ve just tried Google’s instant messenger software. It’s got a particularly primitive and unpretty interface. But the VoiP software is to die for. Beautifully clear. So we’ll probably switch pretty soon. Not all Google’s programs are so hot that I assumed this would be the case. The only reason I tried it is because Yahoo forced us to upgrade and has crashed several computers. I’ll save hundreds on my phone alone. Anyone who wants to ring me I’m at ngruen AT gmail DOT com.

Now for the armchair theorising. There’s lots of debate about whether Google is overvalued etc. I presume it is. But I’m a little surprised at Google’s direction. I’ve seen some interesting speculation as to how Google can add to its presence on the net with instant messaging, Google world etc. How it’s a new bit of connecting infrastructure on the net. All the new services they’ve been rolling out and continue to roll out are exciting. And they add to their ‘critical mass’ as the connecting infrastructure on the web.

But as my business forks out hundreds of dollars to advertise on seek.com.au I wonder why Google doesn’t set up a mega site to compete with seek. Google could offer employers and employees the functionality of Seek or at least those who want to use the basic advertising service and anything else that can be automated. And they could connect teleworkers around the world. And get paid a hefty fee for it.

(If anyone can point me to a website on which we can effectively advertise at a low or zero price for research assistance around the world, feel free to let me know Seek won’t even let me do it around Australia without paying for each city we advertise in!)

Competing with Seek might undercut “Google Answers“ because people could find each other and cut Google out of the action (It currently takes a substantial cut of every job). But then, if there’s value in connecting people, some other company will do it so there’s not much point in Google not doing it.

I can’t believe Google Answers can make much money because the real value in that kind of work (research assistance) comes as relationships develop – which is not easy if you don’t know who the hell you’re emailing and all your communications are monitored.

Meanwhile a bit of Googling reveals Seek’s market cap at $650 million providing the shares on issue haven’t changed since the float earlier this year. That would be a nice market to get into. Google might halve the price of posting an add a little over $100 for a single add, a bit less for volume purchases.

If they did this in whatever countries they could, it would be a nice little earner.
Then again maybe someone else will do it – or already has. Maybe e-bay could do it. But for anyone with the internet presence the owner of a powerful ‘portal’ as they say it seems like a pretty easy thing to do.

Where have I gone wrong, and if not why aren’t Google or some other internet gorilla doing it?
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PS – another thing. If anyone has the old exe file that set up the old Yahoo Messenger, if you could let me know on my email – above – I’d be very grateful if I could get hold of it to reload it onto my computer.

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