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Google is making many companies nervous. Anything bought online that involves the collection of information naturally falls into Google's path.

Even outside of this large niche, Google is getting stuck into larger engineering projects like the self-driving car.

Let's take a look at industries ripe for disruption by Google.

Music

Google is working on the streaming of all entertainment, of course, but music is worth singling out.

Songza was recently acquired, the first company to create a ‘music concierge’. Spotify and Beats followed Songza in creating their functions for contextual playlists.

YouTube has now confirmed it’s nearly completed work on a Premier tier product that allows for music streaming without adverts.

YouTube’s immense popularity amongst younger audiences is a great freemium subscriber base to get stuck into.

songza

Broadband

At up to 1,000 Mbps, Google Fiber is 100 times faster than today's basic broadband, allowing you to get what you want instantaneously.

To demonstrate this kind of speed, Google allows you to race Fiber against your own connection. Below (click through to check out the about page) you can see that downloading 100 photos would apparently take three seconds on Fiber and 56s on 50mbps.

At the moment Google is in discussion with more than 30 cities and is intent on building ‘fiberhoods’. The product will have no caps and is also set to be available to businesses. All of which means that it could disrupt this competitive industry.

fiber race

Insurance

It’s not hard to see why this makes sense. Insurance is bought online and is about the collection of information.

Google has road traffic information (it bought Waze to incorporate it with Google Maps and Now). It bought a price comparison engine (beatthatquote.com) back in 2011. Additionally, the recently announced Google Auto means that Android might eventually be the default OS for connected cars (see the Open Auto Alliance).

In the connected home, Google is positioning Nest as its hub. This allows for data collection in theory around home security and safety. This may be some way down the line, but clearly this could link into insurance.

There’s also suggestion that wearables, which Google has recently entered strongly with the announcement of Google Wear, could allow for data collection used in health insurance.

Of course, one underlying tension is how Google reconciles its own insurance product with the massive spending on PPC by insurance companies.

Home

Nest is a learning thermostat, but it works with Mercedes, to tell your home you’re returning. It works with Jawbone to tell your thermostat when you’ve woken up. It works with connected lighting systems, garages and probably more to come.

If Nest does well with consumers, and it’s advertised heavily at the moment, Google may move further into controlling the connected home and its operation.

This might mean partnering with all kinds of manufacturers, with security likely a key area.

Automotive

Probably the Google project receiving most publicity, the self-driving car is on the horizon. How it will affect other industries such as insurance will be interesting to note.

self-driving car

Travel

Flights, like insurance, might be an area Google is wary of getting involved with. After all, OTAs spend a lot of money on PPC.

But perhaps Flights will become a way to take even more ad spend. It currently shows ads on the right hand side for OTAs.

At the moment, the experience isn't that, well, experiential. The addition of content or linking up with social elements would enhance the product.

Watch the slightly awkward trans-atlantic video and listen up for the use of the word ‘babe’.

google flights

TV

Android TV was another Google I/O announcement. Google is hoping that its expertise in search, in Chromecast and device syncing and also in entertainment (Google Play and YouTube) will serve Android TV well.

android tv 

I’ve missed out some Google X projects, from robots to asteroid mining to balloon WiFi. Perhaps these products will be innovative enough to create new industries rather than disrupting existing ones.

Ben Davis

Published 3 July, 2014 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is a senior writer at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (11)

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Pete Austin

Pete Austin, CTO at Fresh Relevance

almost 2 years ago

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James Crothall, Digital Content Specialist at Hargreaves Lansdown

Really interesting post, Ben.

I totally agree with Pete. Following the acquisition of beatthatquote.com, any aggregator or comparison site is under threat. Another example is [car insurance] - https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=car+insurance

Worryingly, the EU Commission don't seem to have grasped the arguable monopolisitc potential Google have across industries, many described above. This discussed on Today, Radio 4, this week - a good summation here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/07/02/google_rachel_whetstone_patronises_brits_over_eu_search_competition_probe/

Content and Authorship (even minus the pictures) might still be king, but presence in Google's paid environment looks like it's taking precedent.

almost 2 years ago

Stefan Tornquist

Stefan Tornquist, Vice President, Research (US) at EconsultancyStaff

Hi Ben,
Perhaps we've written on it elsewhere, but Google appears to be very much focused on healthcare as well. It has been a primary area for investment (one such here http://www.siliconrepublic.com/business/item/36808-google-makes-largest-health) and emphasis.

If areas ripe for disruption are defined by being expensive, inefficient or both, then the US healthcare system is fertile ground indeed. There is also some evidence that Apple's take on wearables will use healthcare as its beachhead, so together the giants are stalking the medical sectors like...two great stalking things.

almost 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

@everyone

Thanks for the links.

@Stefan

I hadn't heard of Flatiron Health. Looks promising.

Clearly iOS and Android are going to have a big impact on healthcare in the future. If life logging takes off, Apple and Google will be able to greatly impact the demands placed on healthcare.

almost 2 years ago

Simon Lamble

Simon Lamble, Director at Blossom Associates

Interesting article.

I agree with James that Google's monopolistic power is somewhat underestimated by competition authorities, particularly whilst the public are still fairly naive about the degree to which advertising is present within search results.

I have a sneaking suspicion though that Google aren't blind to that - and therefore don't want to upset the apple cart by weighing in heavily to disrupt markets and getting too much attention.

Revenue protection is definitely another factor for them: Price comparison companies spend hundreds of millions of pounds on advertising and I don't believe Google would put that at risk for what could potentially be short term profit.

almost 2 years ago

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Rob Watson

Great post!

It's a valid point you raise about Google potentially losing PPC money from direct insurers and comparison sites. However, as usual I think Google have seen the bigger picture and will end up better off.

Google Compare effectively makes them an aggregator/comparison site, and there is far more money to be made there (otherwise why would the comparison sites shell out £15 upwards for a click?) than in selling clicks to other aggregators.

I've used Google Compare for Motor Insurance just out of curiosity (because I work in insurance) and unsurprisingly it's a great piece of UX design, so I can see them making serious inroads.

Plus of course, they own AdWords nd don't need to pay for clicks, so they can take a big share of the market, at a massive margin, so the loss of income from other aggregators won't worry them, and where else will those aggregators go instead of AdWords anyway? Insurance is a volume business, and they've not walked away yet, even after Google has started to steal their lunch!

almost 2 years ago

Simon Lamble

Simon Lamble, Director at Blossom Associates

Rob, its a much more complex business attracting customers, doing the comparison, referring customers to insurers and then hopefully getting paid if & when that customer makes a purchase. Its a much safer model to simply take a few pounds for every click from everyone else doing it!

I'm not saying Google don't want a contingency (& I agree that their compare product is pretty good), but I reckon they're pretty happy with the status quo for the moment.

almost 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

@Simon

I was agreeing with you over Rob until you wrote:

'I reckon [Google is] pretty happy with the status quo for the moment.'

;)

I think Google cares so much about data that it would weigh up the benefit of pushing further into the comparison game in a bid to know more about its users.

However, perhaps there's a philosophical point to be made here that consumers love Google search precisely because it doesn't feel like a walled garden. It's the opposite, a portal to the world.

Maybe taking too much of the SERPs for itself, Google sacrifices something of what makes it so alluring.

Maybe I should eat some breakfast before commenting.

almost 2 years ago

Simon Lamble

Simon Lamble, Director at Blossom Associates

Fair point Ben! That might have been a bit of a stretch!

almost 2 years ago

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Rob Watson

Totally agree chaps - I wasn't meaning that I think Google will ditch the other aggregators (which - having reread my comment - I didn't make very clear!). That would create the walled garden that Ben refers to and turn customers off.

I'd love to know how much market share Google Compare has managed to gain - I've heard no word of it anywhere, but I'm sure you're right Ben it's there to give them data as much as make money.

almost 2 years ago

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Rajat Dhameja

Another important industry that google products may support but not replace is healthcare. Many of the traditonal industries and Google are not in the same league and may never be replaced. Where google is making an impact is direct consumer interface and experience. Broadly, google manages information about goods and services. Information, data, big data is the game changer in today's industry. From potato chips to silicon chips, coal mining to data mining, google is organizing, delivering, aligning and bridging the gap between man and machine. Google does not need to replace industries, rather it is becoming the foundation thay industries are built upon to stay competitive.

almost 2 years ago

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