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A piece that appeared in the WSJ today (sub. req’d) cites Google CFO George Reyes’ remark that Google’s growth "is slowing due to the ‘law of large numbers’ and it will need to find new ways to boost revenue." As one might expect, the stock took another hit.

I think this means several obvious things for Google:

  • Pushing out more aggressively in other online ad vehicles (display, PPCall, etc.)
  • Trying to go after more SMEs, which is challenging though not impossible, for all the reasons we’ve discussed at length
  • Going offline. There’s a big Jefferson Graham piece in today’s USA Today about Google’s "offline" (traditional media) efforts

Unfortunate as slowing growth is for Google, it will make life much more interesting than it has been (how can it get any more "interesting?" you ask) — as Google takes some more "risks" and other companies are forced to react.

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  1. As Google accelerates its mission to organize all of "the world's information", Google's "do no evil" slogan may become a competitive disadvantage.

    The DOJ 2/24/06 brief questions Google's privacy record: "Despite Google's prominent declarations…to its purported commitment to the confidentiality of the queries on its search engine…Google plainly does not consider the content of search terms to be 'personal information'…To the contrary, queries that are entered into Google's search engine are routinely revealed to other websites, and Google makes no efforts to prevent this…and this occurs despite the fact that the operator of the website will also receive information regarding the users' IP address, which may be associated with the search terms…Google could easily prevent users' search terms from leaking out in this fashion, but it chooses not to do so…this is, of course, inconsistent with Google's present assertion as to the value it places on the confidentiality of the text of queries on its search engine."

    The brief also indicates a primary Google concern for competitive secrecy, rather than Internet user privacy: "Google asserts that the government has already received 'millions' of queries and URL data from other search engines, and thus could not possibly need more…Google also asserts that there must be no need for its data, as the government could have subpoenaed the search engine AskJeeves…but Google has vastly more search traffic than AskJeeves, and so it plainly is an appropriate source of relevant data for the purpose of the statistical study."

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