Google Has a New Focus Point in its Growth Strategy

Rita is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

The world’s most popular smartphone OS maker Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) seems to have found a new focus point that will help the company gain omnipresence and pave the path for further growth and adoption of the already immensely successful Android. The Mountain View, California-based  company is working on bringing Google Now to Chrome, and this might just be THE move Google needs to set its growth on fire.

Google follows a business model very different from that of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL). While the iPhone maker likes to keep it exclusive, Google makes it for the masses. The same concept applies to the companies when it comes to voice-enabled interactive assistance technology. While Siri is available exclusively on iOS 5 and iOS 6 devices (and knowing Apple, we can say Siri will never be available to anyone but Apple users), Google is bringing Google Now to the Chrome browser. This way, the facilities of Google Now will not be limited to Jelly Bean-smartphone users anymore.

Until now, only smartphones and tablets running on the latest version of Android had this amazing piece of technology. But now even personal computers, smartphones, and tablets running on older Android versions will get it. This move will open up a world of limitless possibilities for Google. A recent CNET report stated that Google has added a skeleton for Google Now for Chrome as an early step in a larger project to show Google Now notifications in Chrome. The article also stated, “Google Now integration into Chrome gives Google a new way to connect people closely to online services that Google judges to be relevant depending on time and location.”

So, how is Google planning to do this? For starters, Google is working on linking the Google Now with the Notifications already available on the Chrome browser. According to ThinkDigit,

“Chrome Notifications are already present in the Chrome browser...Google Now cards will now be shown via Notifications. Cards, which are synonymous with Google Now, are pulled up based on your search habits and location. They can also look up your calendar and inform you of your upcoming appointments before you even ask for it. If you are traveling, it can look up traffic information and pull up the traffic card. As of now there are 27 cards which come with Google Now. The cards get more intelligent as you use Google”.

If Google rolls this out, it will be a very intelligent move on the company’s part. The Chrome browser is already available on several desktop/laptop platforms such as Windows, Mac OS, and Linux and on some of the latest mobile platforms also. Thus, making Google Now available on Chrome will give the technology an instant exposure to hundreds of thousands of users worldwide. This move will make users get familiar with the Google Now offering, and thus will contribute to the rising popularity and adoption of the Android platform too.

So, what will Google achieve through all these moves? Well,

  1. Users get to know Google Now a lot better
  2. Google Now competes with Apple Siri. This move may change the dynamics of the competitive space and provide Google’s offering an edge over Siri
  3. With Google Now reaching millions of users worldwide, the popularity of the offering will skyrocket and attract more users towards the Android platform
  4. Google will become indispensable as it gains omnipresence
  5. Google will be able to expand the user base for its Chrome browser

Be it a desktop, a laptop or a handheld device such as a smartphone or a tablet, the browser being used in the devices is very important for business entities such as Google, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), Mozilla, Opera, and others. The browser is not just a gateway to the internet anymore. Through a browser a company gets hold of a ton of valuable information related to personal preferences, shopping patterns, and loads of personal information that has huge value in today’s highly competitive business environment. Advertisers, manufacturers, researchers, and marketers use this information daily to make their campaigns successful.

A higher user base of Chrome will directly contribute to the top line of the company, and the money generated from the information gathered through the browser will also bring in cash. The desktop/laptop space is dominated by Microsoft’s own Internet Explorer, followed by Firefox, and Chrome is in the third spot with only 17.24% market share.

The situation is a lot different for Google in the smartphone-tablet space. This space is being dominated by the Safari browser from Apple. Most of the Apple users surf through Safari, while the Android users are still primarily using the built-in Android browser. Opera Mini stands in the third place with a 7% market share, and Chrome is a distant fourth with a mere 1.14% share.

(Source: NetMarketshare.com; December 10, 2012)

Though presently Chrome’s share in the mobile/tablet space is negligible, there is huge potential in the browser, especially if Google Now is headed towards it, and the months following the release may record some erratic movement in the trend of browser market share. The following chart from NetMarketshare.com captures the ongoing trend in terms of market share.

(Source: NetMarketshare.com; December 10, 2012)

The low market share of Chrome can be attributed to the fact that the browser is a new entrant in the mobile/tablet space and not many devices support it. The browser is available to devices running on Android ICS and above, and obviously the future Android versions will also support the software. So, as more time passes and as more people start using Android devices running on ICS, Chrom's market share will grow. And once Google Now is available on Chrome, users of other mobile platforms such as iOS, BlackBerry, and WP8 will also be drawn to the browser, which shall push up the market share further.

Google clearly has a brilliant strategy here. The company is focusing on gaining market share in every sphere of business and thus ensures growth and sustainability. Google wants to make the users around the world get so used to its offerings that it becomes indispensable for them, and Google Now is probably the key to that. 


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