87 Comments

Summary:

Just like Dell used its supply chain to keep ahead of the competition, Google is using its infrastructure to constantly increase its web presence. Building its own network, data centers, servers and more recently are part of Google’s larger plan to use its infrastructure as a strategic advantage. (Full report after the fold)

Back in the day, when PC stocks were kings on Wall Street, a pesky college kid named Michael Dell figured out that he could do an end run around the then-established PC makers by developing a smarter way of making and selling boxes. His strategy was simple: get components and PCs from the factories in Asia to the U.S. as fast as possible, but only after he had charged for the machine.

By squeezing the supply chain as hard as he could, he turned Dell into a fearsome (and loathsome) competitor. With his help, the supply chain for the PC era came to consist of foundries, ships, U.S. assembly plants and UPS trucks. Google (GOOG), with over $200 billion in market capitalization, is following a similar strategy, fine tuning and adapting it for the Web & broadband.

Instead of trucks and assembly plants, however, Google’s supply chain is made up of fiber networks, data centers, switches, servers and storage devices. From that perspective, its business model is no different than that of Dell’s (DELL): Google has to deliver search results (information, if you want to be generous about their other projects) as fast as possible at as low a cost as possible.

To better understand Google and its business model, one needs to break it down into three data inputs.

  • Relevancy of results.
  • Speed of search.
  • Cost of executing a search query.

While their results aren’t optimal, they are good enough. Just like Microsoft Windows was good enough to dominate the market. Google, according to Hitwise, now has 64 percent of the total search market. And although a typical Google query can often be an act of futility, we put up with it because the results are fast. If they’re wrong, we can just start all over again.

The faster the results show up on our browsers, the less inclined we’ll be to switch to a rival search engine, no matter how great the rival’s search methodology may be. The faster (and more efficient) its infrastructure, the more easily Google can keep serving the ad-based money machine.

In other words, the company has to make sure that the speed of its search is really, really fast. Any random search on Google these days takes between 0.12 to 0.06 seconds. Now that is really, really fast. Google does this by indexing the Internet quite well. The magic is in delivering the search results from this index at lightening speed, and that requires an infrastructure — oodles of bandwidth and specialized hardware — that is finely tuned, much like a Formula One Car.

Against this backdrop, it makes perfect sense for Google to build their own servers, storage systems, Internet switches and perhaps, sometime in the future, even optical transport systems. Let me rephrase that: Imagine connecting thousands of hosts (storage and server systems) at speeds of, say, 10 gigabits per second, in a manner that allows any-to-any connections.

The number of racks, fiber, routers and everything in between is mind-boggling. If this system were built using gear from established hardware makers, it would take a superhuman effort to make it all work together. In other words, the sheer cost to keep such a beast going would suck up a major component of the infrastructure.

A better option is to have gear that is customized for your processes, ones in which you have a major operational expenditure advantage. In the telecom bubble, large service providers were brought to their knees by operational expenditures.

With the exception of optical systems, Google has built or is building the gear. It has been rumored to be a big buyer of dark fiber to connect its data centers, which helps explain why the company spent nearly $3.8 billion over the past seven quarters on capital expenditures.

You can argue that building customized gear is an expensive strategy, but when you are the scale of Google, it starts to become less of an issue. Why? Because process-optimized infrastructure ensures that Google’s cost of executing a query keep going down.

To sum it up, Google’s gigantic infrastructure is the big barrier to entry for its rivals, and will remain so, as long as the company keeps spending billions on it. That said, there’s another thing Google could learn from Dell: Maintain the quality of your search results — customers will only put up with shoddiness for so long.

Note #1: Ethan, you are absolutely right about the software aspect of Google architecture, and I was going to do a separate post. This one is already 750 words.

Note #2: Earth2Tech has a post about Google’s vertically integrated green energy strategy.

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  1. Great article Om. The cool thing in both cases (Dell and Google) is that all this fast mechanism is hidden behind the scenes and transparent to the user. Dell has been the leader for quite a while but its competitors have in the meantime learned a lot, I expect the same to happen with Google sooner or later, probably later…

  2. You can compare this entry deterence strategy as a “building excess capacity” strategy. As economic literature goes, this is a very credible threat to deter entrants.

  3. Google’s search algorithms blow me away. The speed is mind-boggling considering the task. Go Google!

  4. I don’t infrastructure explains much of Google’s strength
    $3.8BN of investment over two years for a company that makes that much in Net Income in a year? Peanuts. If that was all it took to win in search, Microsoft and Yahoo! wouldn’t have to worry!

    Rather, there are entry barriers in terms of brand power (consumers think Google when they think search), and in terms of the liquidity and scale of their adsense market place (they can better monetise queries because they can offer more relevant ads)

  5. I would agree that Google’s infrastructure is indeed part of their competitive advantage, but the other part is the Google employees that built it. They have what is arguable the brightest group of people ever assembled for a publicly held company.

  6. Sorry Om, I beat you to it–TechBizMedia Tuesday, December 4, 2007

    [...] Om Malik has a rather eloquent piece on Google’s infrastructure putting up barrier to entry for competitors. [...]

  7. Excellent article, Om. It really shows that Google has the lead in not just infrastructure, but also strategy. I agree with you, though, their search results need to improve in quality! Speed is important, as long as they continue generating money, they can keep improving their infrastructure and becoming more efficient: http://fishtrain.com/2007/08/30/googles-trading-floor/

  8. I am excited to see how the new G*Drive project works. It’s great that they are offering these services and it will be fun to play around with yet another Free Google tool…

    The breadth of their projects really is the key to their success. They have branched into so many channels online that AdSense will continue to grow with and into these multiple channels.

  9. Do you see Google’s push into renewable energy as part of its drive into building infrastructure? Or is that more of just a pet project of Eric Schmidt’s growing interest in green technology?

  10. Wow. This blog is so much better than Techcrunch. You guys actually have well thought out posts. Awesome. Finally, an alternative.

  11. Om, have you already forgotten how they lost to YouTube (and had to acquire them) in spite of their 100-fold infrastructure advantage? If anything, video is one area where such an advantage would (a priori) appear overwhelming. YouTube didn’t have much by way of technology, so Google should have killed them on the infrastructure front – except that they didn’t.

    Facebook is not winning on any infrastructure advantage either.

    When you have large amounts of capital lying around, it seems like it could be used to erect an insurmountable advantage. But that is increasingly a myth. I offer Amazon S3 & EC2 as examples of leveling forces at work.

  12. @ Zhou,

    The YouTube if it was a stand alone company right now would be needing Facebook-style investments to support its growth. While YouTube got the brand, it is Google’s infrastructure that is eventually allow them to make money.

    Where is Facebook spending money? Infrastructure of course, and will continue to do so in the near future.

    The point of this article is simple: Google’s search-and-advertising business is where infrastructure is playing to their advantage. Last week while chatting with Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia, we talked about how Google is pressing this advantage and a new distributed approach to search (and hence the infrastructure) is the only way to compete with Google.

    Amazon S3 and Ec2 while great when you are small are going to become a huge cost factor as companies grow. Google is fine tuning to make its own business run ‘leaner & meaner’.

    That’s my two cents, but of course your opinions are equally valid.

  13. @ jeff and others

    I think you are right about Google’s employees and their software advantages. I think those are very well chronicled by much smarter folks than me, but I just wanted to bring up the “supply chain” analogy.

    Hopefully, I didn’t offend anyone for not pointing out the employee-software issue.

  14. Om,

    I disagree that Google’s infrastructure is its strategic advantage. If that were the case, Microsoft would have (and has) poured tons of money into infrastructure development and gained a strategic advantage for itself. However, Live search is still behind both Google and Yahoo.

    The strong Google brand associated with search and the strong advertisers network they have developed because of their high traffic has made it very difficult for others to catch up.

    For sure, they need to improve their algorithm and quality of search results going forward.

  15. Thanks for the shout-out, Om. I look forward to your piece on the software side of the G house – this article was great stuff.

  16. Google’s success as a moneymaker is based on the ability to provide relevant ads to each page.

    Their search results differ less and less from those of Yahoo and MS Live, but because it takes only 20 days to form a new habit (of using Google), many have stuck to Google even though others’ results are as good (which they were not in the not-so-distant-past).

  17. Google’s real competitive advantage « François Schiettecatte’s Blog Tuesday, December 4, 2007

    [...] real competitive advantage I have written about this before (I think), GigaOM talks about Google’s real competitive advantage, namely the sheer size of the infrastructure they [...]

  18. great article. i think the key message for those looking to build “the next big thing” is that investing in infrastructure is NOT the way to go — you’ll end up running right into google.

  19. jeffreymonaghan Tuesday, December 4, 2007

    @Om

    All of the Google employees I know are top notch without an exception. I am not claiming this reflects their entire workforce, but I know enough of them to say that I am more than impressed. I can only imagine what must be discussed behind closed doors at that company…or maybe I can’t. I’m probably not smart enough :)

  20. Om,
    Great post. As a counter-point, consider the situation in the semiconductor industry. Intel has the infrastructure/capital advantage just like Google. Yet, a whole industry of fabless companies have thrived. They depend on massive capex by the likes of TSMC, Chartered and so on.

    Financially speaking, debt markets have efficiently financed capital-intensive companies – at low interest rates, therefore requiring relatively low ROI – but they need low risk, which they achieve by aggregating the volumes of numerous fabless companies. Individual fabless companies would have much higher volatility (therefore need to have relatively debt-free balance sheets to withstand the ups and downs of the cycle) while the fabs trade lower risk for cheaper debt finance.

    My point is that both models will co-exist.

  21. Google’s total dominance in search is a disaster for small business. Untold hours are wasted on trying to figure out how to improve SERPs and PageRank instead of on building the business. Is Google Really Good for Small Business?:
    http://smartstartup.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/07/a-fable-doing-b.html

  22. Tim O’Reilly Tuesday, December 4, 2007

    Om –

    So glad to see you picking up on this thought. I made “operations as competitive advantage” a key part of the first O’Reilly Radar Executive Briefing back in 2006, and we’ve now launched a whole conference on the topic, called Velocity.

    Google is, of course, not the only company playing this card. What are Amazon’s S3 and EC2 but an operations play? And Microsoft understands this, even though they haven’t yet been able to execute on it as well as Google or Amazon. Last year, I quoted Windows Live VP of Operations Debra Chrapaty uttering one of the most profound (and as yet not fully appreciated) statements of the Web 2.0 era: “In the future, being a developer on someone’s platform will mean being hosted on their infrastructure.” It turns out that Ray Ozzie had said something very similar in a Fortune interview.

    So yes, this is the new game, and there are very few people who can afford to play it. Google is a master, but don’t count out Amazon or Microsoft, and maybe even Yahoo!, quite yet.

  23. Google’s Scalable Infrastructure « Kevin Burton’s NEW FeedBlog Tuesday, December 4, 2007

    [...] 4, 2007 in google, memetrackers, search Om is asserting that Google’s infrastructure is a huge competitive advantage: To sum it up, Google’s gigantic infrastructure is the big barrier to entry for its rivals, and [...]

  24. Om – Great article!

    Does anyone know the cost of serving a query in Google and how does it compare against the query serving or ad serving for other companies?

  25. Om:
    Great stuff. I agree infrastructure plays a bigger role in this ecosystem. However, don’t forget the biggest asset and true value to Google is their brightest geeks working round the clock churning out all those awesome applications.
    BTW,
    I found this funny and awesome web 2.0 bubble video, guess what, u feature in this video. If u have not watched it, take a look at it

    Hope u are not blogging with one hand and smoking with the other :-)

    Cheers,
    Omfut

  26. Om

    as i have often said in the past – Google is (re/creating) the new Bell System. If the bell system had the best per-call cost of infrastructure, Google has the best per-bit compute+store+delivery and continues to leverage this infrastructure as a key differentiator.

    Meanwhile, telecom is mired in the imagined struggles of years past, even as Google is putting giga-bit-miles between its own network and everyone else’s. In a few years, I bet ATT, VZ, and others tending to their previously captive landline and wireless businesses are going to be woefully out of touch with the customer needs and out of step with where technology is going (see) as another example. In decades past they had the luxury of matching their snail’s pace of evolution with the equally slow rate of networking technology growth. Analog transmission and switching (manual + strowger) lasted five decades, digital transmission and finally SONET took another few decades (1960s to 1990s).

    The future is not looking as kind. The telcos today believe that they ‘own’ the customer by virtue of owning the somewhat broadband pipes that link the customer with the network. I believe what really matters to the customer are the various ‘clouds’ of interest – Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Ebay, and Microsoft and perhaps someone like Facebook (though one never hears of facebook excelling at infrastructure) and the services possible in the clouds. Connectivity is hardly the value-added piece of the chain.

    I wonder if any decision maker at the telcos even knows what memcached, lucene, hadoop, GFS, mapreduce are and how these technologies influence fundamental decisions about internet data center switching and resultant network architecture.

    As enterprise data centers morph from legacy architectures to mimicking internet data centers and applications/services out of Blue or Google clouds become pervasive, lessons learnt from Google Infrastructure engineering may just become standard practice across all kinds of networks. Are the telco engineers taking notice?

  27. It is clear that Google has decided that for long term success infrastructure is a competitive advantage. It is also clear, based on this and other moves, that Google uses commodity hardware and open source software to a point. When it comes to gaining a leg up, they do their own thing, often on top of existing technology.

    Will these investments pay off in the long run? Only time will tell, but my bias is towards companies that have a solid foundation, especially one that is a competitive advantage. My money is on Google. Now they have to figure out how to go beyond search and advertising and take advantage of this competitive advantage.

    Parul
    http://www.bhopu.com

  28. @ Rohit,

    Lots to talk about I guess :-)

  29. @ Omfut,

    That is one funny video. Though the photo of me has a really old phone – not so good.

  30. great post, totally on point..

    the next question is why do even need the internet? once they have everything served up from their own infrastructure and massive supercomputer?

  31. » The Week in Geek – Dec. 5, 2007The Week in Geek Wednesday, December 5, 2007

    [...] Google’s Infrastructure is a Strategic AdvantageOm Malik points out another example of what our freshmen have been studying as a basic lesson for several semesters now, “Google’s gigantic infrastructure is the big barrier to entry for its rivals” (see “Can Yahoo Catch Google” from last December, among other WiG posts). Malik points out that Google now has 64% of the market. Google’s big, honkin’ infrastrucure helps it keep this lead. The avg. search response time smokes out somewhere between .06 and .12 seconds. At speeds like that, even if a query doesn’t give anticipated results, users just search again with refined search terms rather than jump to a competitor. Google has it’s own OS (modified from open source offerings), servers (made from commodity parts), as well as its own operational software. The firm is also rumored to be buying dark fiber to connect its data centers. Malik calls this a ’supply chain’ play, but it’s more easily understood as a game of scale. Remember, when you search Google you’re searching one of several ‘copies of the Internet’ stored on hundreds of thousands of Google servers that are regularly refreshed with the latest snapshot of what’s online. How much does that infrastructure cost? Serious dinero. Google CapEx is roughly $3.8 billion over the past seven quarters. Stanford gave us Jerry and David, then Sergei and Larry, but with this kind of coin required to support an effort, this is no longer a game threatened by two students in a trailer. [...]

  32. Calgary CTO :: Google’s Big Advantage Wednesday, December 5, 2007

    [...]  Google’s Infrastructure is its Strategic Advantage – GigaOM “While their results aren’t optimal, they are good enough. Just like Microsoft Windows was good enough to dominate the market. Google, according to Hitwise, now has 64 percent of the total search market. And although a typical Google query can often be an act of futility, we put up with it because the results are fast. If they’re wrong, we can just start all over again. [...]

  33. Informative and insightful. Thanks, Om

    Dell and Google both understand and demonstrate that critical behavior that more companies need to embrace–adapt or die.

  34. Something to think about: Google is probably one of the top three server builders in the world, the catch is they don’t sell to anyone else.

  35. Google only lacks Access and ownership of the Last Mile, which it has a shot at with the 700Mhz Spectrum to dominate the Broadband Distriubtion networks in the US and (future) world markets. When and if it gets the spectrum it will be able to create a Centrally managed end to end High Speed, QoS based, Low Latency distribution network for its existing search as well as an entirely new series of Content/Applications (Hosted Apps).
    What this is is a replacement for much of the Best Effort Internet that many Service Providers will link (using fiber)to in order to provide the Premium Level Broadband Services and access to content they need.
    Examples of new Content/Apps that Google can provide out of their Data Centers Link to SP via Fiber:
    1. MultiPlayer Gaming Network-that relishes the Low Latency and serious Broadband links this Network can provide-This is massive revenue service with excellent Ad revenue opps.

    1. TV Programming Distribution Source, replacing the Satellite based distribution using Aggregator-Like TNN the MSO use today-At very High fees- % of Revenues). Why use Satellite when they can connect and route everything over their Fiber backbone and connect to the CATV headends via fiber. Seriously reducing cost (CAPEX & OPEX) to install and operate a Headend.

    2. Replacement of the CDN like Akamai who specialize in Content delivery.

    3. VoiceIP Network: Its low latency excellent QoS (precedence capability), security as well as the 24X7 Mangement of the Network will dramatically improve the end to end delivery of the IPVoice links. This will also reduce the costs to the Local Incumbent to deply a new Softswitch/Feature Server (VoiceiP based) Network and lower LD costs Worldwide.

    Many more like this but these are big ones.

    Jim (aka Jacomo)

  36. @ Parag,

    Microsoft and Live Search may benefit from money being poured in to it, but if they are stacking bricks, a concorde they do not get…

    For more on Microsoft Research’s ideas on Rethinking Data Centers, see powerpoint from Chuck Thacker’s talk at Stanford in Oct
    http://yuba.stanford.edu/~nbehesht/netseminar/seminars/10_25_07.ppt

    From his talk it is clear that what is ‘practice’ at Google and others is merely ‘talk’ @ Microsoft.

    rohit

  37. Google’s Vertically Integrated Green Energy « Earth2Tech Wednesday, December 5, 2007

    [...] will prove to be the foundation of the massively vertically integrated Google of tomorrow. Om’s post today explains how “it makes perfect sense for Google to build their own servers, storage systems, [...]

  38. just cuz of this post, i will keep coming here rather than techcrunch.

  39. Hey Om, Great post. I heard awhile ago that Google owned fiber, but didn’t know how it fit into the picture. If infrastructure is really their game, I’m wondering if we could apply your thinking to what they are doing in wireless? You can see my post on the subject here.

  40. Borislav Agapiev Wednesday, December 5, 2007

    Om,

    I enjoy your articles a lot but for this one I will take you to task. First, I am amazed that you would quote “0.12-0.06″ as what it takes to do a search. Have you ever checked your TCP/IP roundtrip delay (e.g. by ping)? I got 100+ ms a minute ago from my FIOS, now it is 70, this is the floor for the delay, it makes no sense to talk about 60 ms delay when it becomes dominated by transport.

    The other point is that the speed is simply about perception, once you get to fractions of seconds nobody can notice anyway.

    Google has always played the speed card, and I agree, it is cool but is no big deal these days, you can do really fast search with amazingly small resources (hint: see Gigablast).

    The fact is, despite oohhing and aahhing by mesmerized onlookers and assorted Wallstreet types, Google search results have barely changed from 10 years ago. The quality of a multitude of results is visibly deteriorating as they are being search spammed to death, by tens of thousands of COMPANIES, not to mention legions of individuals . This is hardly a secret as it is being openly discussed among search experts.

    It is true that Google has amassed enormous infrastructure and they are playing the card of giving an impression that all that is absolutely REQUIRED since they keep mum about what it is being used for. But how about how much of that is really needed, and how efficiently it is deployed?

    The size of the crawlable Web is small, 20B pages will fit into 200TB which today one can jam into a couple of racks for two hundred grand.
    Sure you want to back it up, cache it, have copies for speedup etc but that hardly an imposing infrastructure make.

    As for bandwidth, that is really funny since for $100K/mo one can get 10Gbps in the Bay Area, you can crawl 10B pages/DAY with that, well, nobody dares to try that incl Goggle, Yahoo and Microsoft. The moral of the story is that crawling DOES NOT SCALE! Google probably spends more that $100K/mo on coffee so crawling is certainly not any kind of “infrastructure advantage”.

    The fact is, IMHO, that Google has been getting a free ride as they have not been faced with serious competition (from Microsoft, Yahoo nor anyone else). Couple that with a perception, I would say perfectly exemplified by your article, that it takes some mythical, enormous resources to do search and presto, we get Google invincibility.

    There are other claims you make in there, e.g. “indexing the Internet really well”. What is so special about that? It is well known that indexing is the game of RAM i.e. if you stuff your index into RAM then it will be really fast and that is it. The size of a really large Internet index, with all the languages words, product names, acronyms, people names, parts of URLs and whatever else these days is few billions (Google actually admits that in one of their earlier papers), throw in few more billion for N-grams (most frequent combinations of 2,3,4 .. keywords, they have actually released these numbers) and you end up with, say, tens of TB of RAM. The cost of RAM itself is not much few hundred grand, perhaps few million for machines to stuff the RAM in but what is the big deal about it?

    You also mention “imagine connecting hosts with 10Gbps and any-to-any connections”. You seem to be confusing the connectivity speed with throughput of the switching fabric. But even with the full crossbar, what is the point? Will that help Google rotate their index faster? Are Google customers happy with the current rotation frequency? Will it allow them to have say, incremental index, instead of the current, write-once one?

    OK, I will stop here. Do no get me wrong, I like your stuff, just thought to give you a little workout on this one :)

    Finally, I guess as a disclaimer too, one can say if I know and say all this, what am I doing about it? Fair question, I have experience (founded two search startups) and resources now, and am doing something about it, will have more to say pretty soon :)

  41. PolkaRobot » Lesezeichen vom 05.12.2007 Wednesday, December 5, 2007

    [...] Google’s Infrastructure is its Strategic Advantage “Instead of trucks and assembly plants, however, Google’s supply chain is made up of fiber networks, data centers, switches, servers and storage devices. From that perspective, its business model is no different than that of Dell’s (DELL): Google has [...]

  42. Between the Lines mobile edition Wednesday, December 5, 2007

    [...] Malik had an interesting post about Google’s super-sized datacenters. He posited that Google’s massive infrastructure, customized for its processes, represents a the [...]

  43. Born On The Web » Blog Archive » links for 2007-12-06 Wednesday, December 5, 2007

    [...] Google’s Infrastructure is its Strategic Advantage – GigaOM Google’s massive infrastructure is their best competitive advantage… building a second google requires a huge amount of raw cash … to much I guess. (tags: google infrastructure strategy businessmodel hardware networking business) [...]

  44. links, ideas and geek stuff » Blog Archive » links for 2007-12-06 Wednesday, December 5, 2007

    [...] Google’s Infrastructure is its Strategic Advantage – GigaOM [...]

  45. Great post. It helped me to validate my recent blog post.
    http://www.livrona.com/blog/technology/clash-technology-titans-recap

  46. Dragoljub Profirovic Thursday, December 6, 2007

    Google both understand and demonstrate that critical behavior that more companies need to adapt or die.

    Very well written! Thanks, Om

  47. Om,

    Interesting post – thanks! But fwiw (and I know it’s peripheral to your main point), the premise at the beginning is incorrect. Dell’s initial breakthrough wasn’t in supply chain, it was in distribution. As “PCs Etc.”, it didn’t have enough clout to elbow its way onto retail shelves, so it developed a different way of reaching customers. The supply chain stuff came later…

  48. Rolling Stone’s Albums of the 1980s » Blog Archive » For Google, Its Infrastructure is a Strategic Advantage Thursday, December 6, 2007

    [...] For Google, Its Infrastructure is a Strategic AdvantageBy Om MalikWith the exception of optical systems, Google has built or is building the gear. It has been rumored to be a big buyer of dark fiber to connect its data centers, which helps explain why the company spent nearly $3.8 billion over the …GigaOM – http://gigaom.com/ [...]

  49. Virtual Advocate General Thursday, December 6, 2007

    Google should go green with some serious virtualization. Here’s a good article:

    http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/virtualization/view/071807.html

  50. I’ve done a lot of investigation of Google’s infrastructure. For more on software and hardware on Google check out:

    For Microsoft’s best idea, look at this article on a Microsoft Research project named Boxwood. Honestly though, I don’t think Ballmer gets it. Ozzie maybe.

    Robin Harris

  51. Interesting read, Om. While Goog’s infrastructure is a competitive advantage, I would argue that it is not Google’s only one. Otherwise, it would be in Google’s best interest to collect the Ricardian rent on it by allowing others to build on it.

    I believe Google’s strengths run deeper. I suspect the infrastructure they’ve built out is closely aligned to how they carry out their other activities – process of developing new products, their software stack, etc. The intertwining of these different activities make Google’s infrastructure more valuable to itself than to others (at least for the present), and, in my mind, justifies Google’s experiments to churn out its dizzying array of products.

    The more interesting question is how sustainable is the advantage?

  52. Reader Feedback Required: The Infrastructure Theories – GigaOM Friday, December 7, 2007

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  56. » Can Google lead amid its ever growing infrastructure and computation expenditures? Web 2.0 Money: The Money & Business Behind the Web 2.0 Innovations Thursday, January 10, 2008
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    [...] have written about how Google is using its infrastructure (including network) as a strategic advantage, and this latest move is an extension of that philosophy. It has been buying dark fiber to grow its [...]

  58. services.mail2web.com | Gadget Blog | Sunday, March 9, 2008

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  59. Proč Microsoft nemůže koupí Yahoo! zničit Google Wednesday, March 12, 2008

    [...] faktor ve schopnosti najímat úžasné zaměstnance je totiž obecný jev. To, že Google léta masivně investuje do infrastruktury nemusí být pro Microsoft (narozdíl od ostatních společností) až takový problém. Inzertní [...]

  60. Cuil Finally Gets Going – GigaOM Sunday, July 27, 2008

    [...] How it works is that company has an index of around 120 billion pages (which is a lot smaller that what Google claims) that is sorted on dedicated machines, each one tasked with conducting topic-specific search — for instance, health, sports or travel. This approach allows them to sift through the web faster (and probably cheaper) than Google, which still enjoys a huge infrastructure advantage over its rivals. [...]

  61. Can Undersea Optic Cables Predict An Economic Boom? – GigaOM Sunday, August 17, 2008

    [...] buying up of bankrupt carriers’ assets indicated the rise of new players including Google, which has built a fearsome infrastructure. These days, all the excitement in the optical business is around new undersea cables being laid [...]

  62. בעוד שנה לגוגל יהיה 90% מנתח השוק בארה”ב | ClickWise Wednesday, August 27, 2008

    [...] – קשה להיות חדשני כאשר יש צורך להיות מחושב ושקול. 4. גוגל השקיעה בצורה מאסיבית בכוח אדם כשרוני ובתשתיות בשנתיים האחרונות – מנגד, יאהו פיטרה עובדים. 5. אנשים [...]

  63. Google at 10: Larry, Sergey & Me – GigaOM Saturday, September 6, 2008

    [...] was the critical difference – I wrote about it recently – between winning and losing. I was reminded of this by an old PowerPoint Larry & Sergey left [...]

  64. 10 ans : Bonne Fête Google ! | Ressac Media | Le Blogue Monday, September 8, 2008

    [...] en la matière cet élément à été déterminant. Car c’est la capacité à déployer l’infrastructure et le réseau nécessaire qui à fait et fera toujours la différence lorsqu’il vient le temps de [...]

  65. Google at 10: Larry, Sergey & Me | Zensible Monday, September 29, 2008

    [...] was the critical difference – I wrote about it recently – between winning and losing. I was reminded of this by an old PowerPoint presentation. They talked [...]

  66. Understanding Google’s algorithm by Richard Vanderhurst « Richard Vanderhurst’s Weblog Tuesday, October 14, 2008

    [...] invested in talent and infrastructure over the past two years while Yahoo has laid people off. Finally, many people have internal stats [...]

  67. Google CapEx Falls, Temporarily – GigaOM Friday, October 17, 2008

    [...] of 2007. (See chart.) Wall Street must have rejoiced at how stingy Google was being, but the fact remains that infrastructure is a strategic advantage for Google, and spending must [...]

  68. Google CapEx Falls, Temporarily – GigaOM Friday, October 17, 2008

    [...] the third quarter of 2007. Wall Street must have rejoiced at how stingy Google was being, but the fact remains that infrastructure is a strategic advantage for Google, and spending must [...]

  69. Google Not Turning Its Back on Network Neutrality Sunday, December 14, 2008

    [...] the company has the resources and the network infrastructure to pull this off. That alone gives the company an advantage over others. Original report below the fold. The Wall Street Journal reports that Google, long a network [...]

  70. Google NOT Turning Its Back on Network Neutrality | CHARGED’s Digital Lifestyle at Work or Play Sunday, December 14, 2008

    [...] the company has the resources and the network infrastructure to pull this off. That alone gives the company an advantage over others. Original report below the fold. The Wall Street Journal reports that Google, long a network [...]

  71. With Google’s Money and Infrastructure, Does Net Neutrality Really Matter? Monday, December 15, 2008

    [...] doing business will be much higher than Google’s. As I noted in my post from last December, Google’s infrastructure is its strategic advantage, and this new aspect of the business only helps them lower their costs and hence their [...]

  72. How Google Is Influencing Server Design Monday, December 29, 2008

    [...] are all ways Google apparently modifies its boxes to deliver information faster and more cheaply. Rackable’s new CloudRack servers will offer [...]

  73. great post, totally on point..

    the next question is why do even need the internet? once they have everything served up from their own infrastructure and massive supercomputer?

  74. HP Forgot to Put the ‘Cloud’ in MagCloud Wednesday, April 1, 2009

    [...] 3. It requires an expensive, special-purpose piece of hardware on the backend. But the cloud is the anti-mainframe. In cloud environments, you buy commodity hardware. If a box breaks, you simply replace it. If we stretch the definition of a cloud service to cover anything where both the Internet and some sort of service are involved, the necessity of the Indigo press still makes MagCloud unworthy of the label. If a machine in this “cloud” goes down, it takes half a million dollars to replace it — and I’m guessing more than a few minutes. This collection of digital presses is no Google infrastructure. [...]

  75. hi everyone,,,
    i have a question regarding googles business,just a bit curious as we were having a discussion in the class that does google get paid for the search result or they get paid only for the ads and sponsored link when people click on them?i mean if i search for the term “economy” and they provide me with few pages of search result and i click on one of them,,,do googleget paid?
    plz let me know if anyone knows it,,,
    thx in advance

  76. How Internet Content Distribution & Discovery Are Changing Sunday, May 17, 2009

    [...] Sergey Brin helped changed user behavior by making it easy to seek, search and consume any content. They spent billions on their infrastructure and made search better, faster and easier — so easy that, like a drug, we got hooked on [...]

  77. Why Google Should Fear the Social Web Thursday, October 29, 2009

    [...] of information, which will make it difficult to find the information we actually want. Google, despite its obvious infrastructure advantages, faces a tough job of sifting through these proverbial mountains of data. Unless, of course, the [...]

  78. 为什么 Google 因该害怕社交网站的威力 | 谷奥——探寻谷歌的奥秘 Tuesday, November 3, 2009

    [...] 信息。Google 却忽视它自己明显处于优势的网页搜索服务,去面对这些堆积如山的 [...]

  79. 1999-2009: How Broadband Changed Everything – GigaOM Wednesday, December 23, 2009

    [...] a pesky little upstart in 2000, it has been the single biggest beneficiary of the broadband boom. Not only did it turn the Internet into a strategic advantage, but it managed to bottled that lightening on its first try. Because [...]

  80. The State of Google Apps – GigaOM Thursday, March 4, 2010

    [...] All Google Apps are written on top of the Google File System, which gives the company the unique ability to not only write data to multiple locations insider a specific data center, but also across the multiple data center locations that make up the global Google infrastructure. Since these globally dispersed locations are connected to each other with very high-speed fiber connections, Google can literally save bits of your information across the globe. (Related: Google’s Infrastructure Is Its Strategic Advantage.) [...]

  81. I can agree with most of this article, except the part apart their search results. Every now and again, I will jump on bing or yahoo and they just dont give me as many quality results. Google is just better. And Now they have picked up their real time search game adding twitter and the like. Type in Los Angeles weather in the search bar, you get the results before your done typing. No need to even hit enter. You can’t get those type of results anywhere else. So now its there job to keep innovating.

  82. Stat Shot: Google’s Growing Infrastructure Advantage – GigaOM Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    [...] cut its costs and boost its ability to better serve customers. For Google, which has long seen its infrastructure as a competitive advantage, the ability to keep its mighty web traffic on its own network rather than pay others to deliver it [...]

  83. Stat Shot: Google’s Growing Infrastructure Advantage | Yooxe Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    [...] cut its costs and boost its ability to better serve customers. For Google, which has long seen its infrastructure as a competitive advantage, the ability to keep its mighty web traffic on its own network rather than pay others to deliver it [...]

  84. Facebook: A Billion Likes? Don’t Worry Our Infrastructure Can Handle It Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    [...] billion likes” might generate,” Schroepfer remarked. It is clear that Facebook has learnt from Google that infrastructure is a vital and a strategic advantage. No wonder they are building their own data centers. I think that is one of the reasons they allow [...]

  85. Behind Caffeine May Be Software to Inspire Hadoop 2.0 Friday, June 11, 2010

    [...] But the allure of Caffeine isn’t just the actual real-time search engine, it’s the secret infrastructure sauce that Google uses to make a continuing real-time index of the entire web possible. That technology [...]

  86. Twitter to Build Data Center to Beach the Fail Whale Thursday, July 22, 2010

    [...] after deciding latency in the cloud was too high. Perhaps Twitter, like Facebook and Google (the granddaddy of webscale infrastructure), has decided that aside from custom code, it needs a custom home for its hardware to ensure a [...]

  87. For Google, Capex Costs are Worth The Money: Tech News « Friday, October 15, 2010

    [...] few years ago, in a post I noted that infrastructure was Google’s key competitive advantage. It is what allowed the company to innovate and outpace its rivals. It allowed the company to give [...]

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