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Google No Longer A Quiet Giant

Seemingly gone is the company that did one thing and did it well, and tried in earnest not to talk about that one thing done well. Google is dipping into many wells these days, but the biggest change is perhaps how forthcoming Google has been recently.

There was a time when one had to lurk about the search forums and bloggers-familiar-with-the-matter to pick up tidbits about algorithmic changes, policy changes, and future (seemingly grandiose) movements. The Google obsessed are still hard at it – many of them landing new, higher profile gigs or advertising deals – digging through domain registrations, robot droppings, and (sometimes faked) photo evidence. It was this trademark standoffishness that, ironically, seemed to propel the company to juggernaut status.

Alas, much of the mystery just isn’t there anymore. Google has numerous blogs devoted to everything from public policy to research. Google’s PR people actually answer questions (usually only the PR people, though), the founders are more outspoken about future plans, and the very public battle with AT&T and Verizon shows a more mature, confident, and transparent multinational corporation.

It wasn’t long ago that Google wouldn’t comment on rumor and speculation (they still won’t) surrounding the rumored Google phone. It wasn’t too tough to guess at their plans after they acquired Android. Still, they were pretty tight-lipped. These days, they’re proud to say Android-powered phones will be shipping in time for Christmas – or after the holiday season says a source Google actually bothered to disagree with.

The company did one thing and did it so well it destroyed any semblance of competition. That point could serve as a reasonable springboard into why Google now looks to the mobile industry: a sort of digital manifest destiny. When one territory is conquered, choose another.

But cofounder Larry Page appeared in person and told some Washington types recently the company’s interest in spectrum, broadband expansion, and mobile computing has more to do continuing to do its one thing well. To paraphrase: More people with more opportunities to access the web means more people searching for content and more people to click on search ads.

There you have it, laid out there on the table from the horse’s mouth. No need to speculate, postulate, or prognosticate. No need to make the company more altruistic than necessary, either.

A couple of years ago, Google was known for holding secret meetings with hundreds of people and expecting them to not talk about it. Wonder of all wonders, they actually kept the secrets—perhaps in exchange for other discretions. But there’s no sense in speculating anymore.

The watchdogs are still around, noting with the surgical precision of obsession and compulsion minute changes to how Google defines a doorway page (hint: it’s less techie, more felt). Meanwhile, Google’s Maile Ohye has posted a video detailing how Google defines IP delivery, geolocation, and cloaking (main point: don’t try to trick the bot).

While a Google executive does his own prognosticating about the eventual commoditization of web content—an idea that means you’ll be paying to read news again one day—the company demonstrates its own skill at getting around pesky subscription obstacles by allowing a few employee bloggers to announce the availability of real-time stock quotes on Google Finance.

Is this the end, then, of the search giant’s shyness? We should be careful what we wish for; there may come a day when we wish they’d shut up already.

About the Author:
Jason Lee Miller is a WebProNews editor and writer covering business and technology.

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