Chapter 11. Google's Future
Wall Street analysts and some competitors have a superficial view of Google as a giant college dorm with a fridge stocked with free Odwalla juice.
—Stephen E. Arnold, Author and Technology Consultant
Arnold warns the world not to underestimate Google, its talents, its power, and especially its resolve. If Google has shown us anything so far, it is that Page, Brin, and Schmidt will be smart and aggressive in all aspects of their business.
Even so, Charles O'Reilly, professor of management at Stanford University Graduate School of Business, says, "Gravity affects all organizations and will inevitably affect Google."
Nobody looks to Google for clear signals as to where it is headed. It isn't Google's practice to give guidance. For the longest time, Google claimed to be all about search. Marc Andreessen, one of the founders of Netscape, said he expects Google to expand everywhere, in both on- and offline computing. "Google is Andy Kaufman—the late comedian.... The whole thing with Andy Kaufman was you could never tell when he was joking. Google comes out with a straight face and says, 'We're just going to be a search engine. We're not going to be doing any of this other stuff.' But I am quite sure they are joking."
The array of products Google introduced in the past few years indicates that they were indeed joking. The company website proclaims:
What's next from Google? It's hard to say. We don't talk much about what lies ahead, because we believe ...