Google doesn't know what its brand means.
Google may be building up a nice portfolio of products and services - Chrome OS, Android, Search, and Docs – but, according to John Battelle, all is not well in camp Google.
Google has expanded on its search engine roots and now, according to Battelle, “Google doesn't know what its brand means.” He proposes that Google is now a software company, and a widespread “Pepsi” to several of the original, “Coke” brands of the software world (Android vs. iPhone; Google Docs vs. Microsoft Office; Google Chrome vs. Internet Explorer.)
It is true that Google have never been a forceful brand advertiser, but Battelle argues that this was never an issue before, as Google's search engine service was the brand builder. Now, Google's hesitance to advertise, signals that Google isn't quite sure of what it's advertising. “You can't do brand advertising if you can't say what the brand means,” Battelle explains.
Google certainly isn't 'just' a search engine anymore but, when you factor in Android, Docs, and Google's own Chrome browser, it is possible to see why some people are struggling to define the Google brand.