Back before Google’s 2004 IPO, a joke among employees was to tell journalists and analysts who asked about the startup’s future plans that Google someday hoped to build a space elevator — a huge tether that connects an orbiting platform to Earth’s surface. Journalists believed it.
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But as Google’s search business grew to a multi-billion dollar industry, journalists and analysts never stopped asking what the company and its thousands of brilliant engineers would do next. The answer was make more money off of Google search. But that was boring, and in the absence anything more exciting, journalists and analysts began to kind of make things up.
Google (GOOG) would take over billboard, TV, print and radio advertising. Google would save the newspaper industry, they wrote.
Some of the ideas were based on the good business sense that Google needed to diversify, to find a second revenue stream somewhere. Others took off on Google’s motto “don’t be evil,” and mistakenly assumed the company was anything other than profit-motivated corporation.
Some of these industry watchers got it wrong. Some could still get it right. But in the absence anything more exciting, all filled the void.
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Here’s our list of things people thought Google would do, but it hasn’t. Click through to read a description and our take on whether each dream can ever come true:
- Take over Billboards, TV, Print and Radio Advertising
- Replace Advertising Agencies With A Dashboard
- Sell Enterprise Search
- Replace Microsoft Office
- Become A Content Portal
- Develop An Operating System
- Build A GooglePhone
- Become A Nationwide Internet Service Provider
- Buy The New York Times, Save Newspapers
- Explore Space