This may be just speculation, but I strongly believe that Google is paving the way for a new portal. Currently, the building blocks that help lead me to this conclusion are:
1) Search Engine
The search foundation for a portal goes without saying. Every single online portal has invested heavily in search technology to ensure that the end user finds value in the portal. Google has become synonymous with search consolidating its position for any future technology deliveries.
Google News offers one of the fastest and easiest ways for a user to connect with events.
Froogle offers consumers a one stop location to search for good deals on various products. Furthermore Google also offers online scanned catalogs for a wide variety of stores.
Orkut, Blogger and Google Groups are only some of the ways that Google has extended the community beyond the standard community sites. Imagine all of the above sites combined into a single sign on portal offering users the ability to grow their personal communities.
5) Communication and Messaging
Although Google is being slammed left and right for their new GMail site, I wouldn’t be surprised if they ended up buying a messaging company such as Trilian.
Google is the online inventor. Take a moment to survey the inventions coming out from the Google Labs. To name just a few:
– Google toolbar
– Search Engine improvements (e.g. UPS shipment tracking, calculator, dictionary, website statistics)
– Voice Capabilities
– Wireless Capabilities (Has your company even started looking at the millions of wireless users who are going to be comparison shopping over their mobile devices?)
– Local searches
– Google sets (Driving improvement through statistical results)
– Web Alerts
Have you tried AdWords or AdSense? Google owns the advertising bandwagon from end to end. With partnerships with AOL, Earthlink, Alexa, A9 and a host of other content providers, Google has a steady revenue stream to power the rest of the company’s new initiatives. Furthermore, recent introductions of rich-media banner advertising will reach out to customers who once turned down text advertising.
Aside from the fact that it has most of the above building blocks in place and is ready for the IPO, I feel that Google is a company driven by a culture that is always ready for one more challenge.