Nobody really knows why Google partnered with Verizon with such a blast. The text of the proposal is confusing (you have to read it three times to figure out you can’t figure it out…) and all the alleged reasons commentators and bloggers are advancing are nothing more really than speculation. I guess we will have to wait a couple of weeks to ear some clearer explanation – possibly from the founders themselves – on why Google took such a move. That will be a clarifying moment.
We may not know the reasons why Google chose this path, but we can be pretty sure that it was a careful meditated stand. Why? It’s so obviously “un-google”, so contrary to its recent history, to its core values and even to its motto, that it is impossible do have been taken lightly. Google most surely must have thought deeply about this decision and its consequences before moving on. It’s impossible to have not foreseen all de shock waves something like this would provoke. We don’t know what Google is doing, but – rest assured – Google knows what is doing! That’s why I’m so curious to fully understand what it is.
It’s true that Google is an engineering company, but it has proven to be a very intelligent one. There’s more than enough intelligence in the company to allow us to understand this decision, whatever the reasons, as a strategic move to position itself favorably in the future media landscape (if we can even call it “media”…). And that is what really interests me.
It’s pretty obvious that traditional media have had its days and that few, if any, will be able to make the shift to the new media world unfolding before them. I should know because I’m a traditional media guy. Not only the actors will be different, also its role will change. Will there be content companies like a newspaper, a magazine or a TV station? Will regular people be producers of information or entertainment as well as consumers? Will there be such a thing as a social consumption of information content? What is going to be the balance between the producers of the content and its distributors? These are just a minor fraction of the numerous questions all media companies are (or should be…) asking themselves. Well, there you go, an answer to some or even all of these questions is implicit in this strategic move by Google. And, once we know or understand its reasons, we will know what those answers are. In a way (even somewhat ironical…) Google is really answering the question Jeff Jarvis put: “What would Google do?”. Well, apparently, this is what Google would do to prepare itself for the future media landscape. The vision of what landscape is that is the most valuable piece of information and understanding we can all derive from this sudden and confusing upheaval.