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      Five years ahead.

      The online world has rather an unpredictable historical pattern. From personal computers to online ecommerce has created an environment which virtually eliminates accurate predictability. Nevertheless, it is possible to look at the recent internet history and make semi viable yet educated predications.

      Generally speaking, it is important to look at the current major players that have a history of influencing the online and technology world. Some of the most significant players include giants such as Google, Yahoo and MSN in terms of online ventures. In terms of hardware and technology Sony, Microsoft, Dell and similar major players may also have a great deal of influence.

      Based on limitation of this particular entry, we will mainly concentrate on the most well known player Google. There are many aspects to the online world, however, if the most recent history of Google is any guideline at all, one can safely assume that Google will continue expanding its advertising wing via farther penetration into audio, visual and print medias, maintain dominance in online advertising by increasing advertisers’ ROI and publisher income via more accurate targeting which may eventually lead to greater interest in behavioral targeting, purchase more start ups in the security software industry, as well as overall increase in relevancy which can be achieved by means of partnerships such as AOL. The possibilities are of course endless and only limited to imagination.

      All of the potential growth for Google comes certainly with potential pitfalls. Issues could include overflow of ads, publics distrust in Google privacy policies, small but more advanced competitors in niche markets, cross functional competitor alliances among larger competitors such as MSN and Yahoo, domestic or foreign governmental regulations, as well as legal liabilities. Most of the potential issues can be brushed off based on the financial ability of Google. However, the most single greatest threat is certainly within the end users judgment on two top issues: Google relevancy and privacy policies.

      On both of these issues, competitors may have already irreversibly failed. MSN and Yahoo have repeatedly handed user information to domestic or governmental agencies which fundamentally undermines the end users trust. On the issue of technological expansion, Yahoo and MSN both have failed to realize the rapid advancement of Google and are virtually left behind. However, Google may encounter its own problems with end user trust. Recent announcement that Google cookies may last as long as two years before self deletion, purchase of Double Click, selective quality of customer service to smaller advertisers, as well as click fraud may illustrate a great deal of public relation dilemma for Google.

      Arguably it has not harmed Google’s share prices or financial well being; however, it is important to point to one potential devastating issue. Google as young company, as well as internet in its entirety are a recent phenomena which have not been subject to more subjective measurement such as brand loyalty. It is important for Google decision makers to consider that their action may result in end user alienation which may carry over generations.

      Similarly, Google’s realization and strategic vision should not be limited to Western nations only. Considering the potential markets and spending power in Middle East and Africa, it is important for Google to accomplish proper market penetration strategies which should start with consumer confidence in its established markets.

      Ultimately, there is a great opportunity for Google to further influence the business environment as well as the way the general public uses search engines to enrich their lives. However, the current path may be riddled with inconsistencies, flawed approaches, morally questionable practices, narrowed strategic vision, and many potentially incriminating road bumps. Usually, such harsh criticism is not appropriate for every business, however, a giant that has since its start virtually changed the way we search, find and process information can and should be held to a greater if not the greatest standard. It is safe to assume that Google has the practical and financial means to evolve, conquer and maintain its influence on all of us; however, such greatness will not come without practical consequences for end users and businesses. It is up to the end users to determine the consequences that we are willing to tolerate.

      Brought to you by: World Consulting Group. Your premier management consulting firm in Columbia Missouri.

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