Social Media

Google and the Vegemite Story

Jeneane Sessum was interviewed for ComputerWorld for the problems with missing GMail email. I find it fascinating when Google is asked about any problem with its services, it always states it can’t respond fully because of ‘privacy’ concerns.

I don’t use GMail or Yahoo mail or any centralized email service for my email, primarily because, as happened with Facebook, you never know when your interactions with your friends suddenly become marketing fodder. It’s one thing to subject yourself to stealth ads, quite another to do so to your mates.

Centralized data aside, I think the issues with Jeneane’s email, and especially Google’s non-response, demonstrates an increasing problem with Google: it’s spread too thin. If Google doesn’t have its hands in television, it has its hands now in cellphones, closed social networks–increasingly throwing out tendrils into virtually every known, and possibly unknown, form of internet-based interaction. All, of course, with the undercurrent that some day the ‘somethings’ Google puts out will eventually become ‘somethings-with-ads’.

Yahoo’s desperate explorations into the hip (last year, internet operating systems, this year social graph) in order to maintain it’s implicit coolness have been overshadowed by the Peanut Butter Manifesto, a company communication by a senior Yahoo executive worried that the company was spreading itself too thin.

If, however, Yahoo’s rather timid explorations are seen as spreading the company thin, like peanut butter, than Google’s own explorations must be seen as the Vegemite of the internets, as it seeks to scrape smears of itself on everything we touch.

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