Has Google fundamentally changed?

Blogger says Google has had its "Microsoft Moment."

The amount of press coverage that Google's Chrome OS got last week was just plain incredible. Here at Network World, we saw literally dozens of stories from our sister sites at IDG (like Computerworld, InfoWorld, PC World and CIO.com) in addition to our own. Certainly, outside of IDG, there was plenty more to be had, and the news was analyzed, over-analyzed, re-analyzed, sliced, diced, scattered, smothered and analyzed again.

One article that stood out from all of that mess came from blogger Anil Dash, who last week suggested that Google has had its "Microsoft Moment." He defines it as "the point when the difference between their internal conception of the company starts to diverge just a bit too far from the public perception of the company, and even starts to diverge from reality. At this inflection point, the reasons for doing new things at Google start to change."

Dash says symptoms include designing for corporate synergy, not for users; having multiple, competing product lines (in this case, Android and Chrome OS); changing methods of communication; and continuing the belief that only the previous generation of companies is evil (for Microsoft, the evil one was IBM).

Google has been drifting toward this moment for some time as it has grown up. The noise over Chrome OS was just the loudest manifestation of the trend - and perhaps it is in fact the inflection point.

Dash argues that Google is big enough and successful enough that it is starting to act differently and may not even be aware that it is doing so. Public perception of Google is changing:

Is Google evil? It doesn't matter. They've reached the point of corporate ambition and changing corporate culture that means they're going to be perceived as if they are. Whether they're able to truly internalize that lesson, accept it, and act accordingly will determine if they're able to extend their dominance in the years to come.

- Jeff Caruso

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