Users are a Side Effect or Why Google’s Web Applications are Free

“I get the feeling that all of Google’s products were invented for Google to help streamline the way it does things.” – yellowbkpk


Just as I wrote about Google’s AppEngine last year, Google’s applications – whether Gmail, Wave, Maps, or the recently announced Buzz – are about reducing costs and streamlining their business.

In the long run – it’s significantly cheaper for Google to build the tools its employees use (especially if the same employees build them) than it is to negotiate licensing or usage feeds to someone else.

This is why the significant majority of Google’s applications are free to us non-Google employees – the cost of opening up their apps to the outside world is so close to zero, they treat it as zero. Google’s development costs were paid by their operating budget.

I feel the same way about all the products I build, Cullect, Kernest, etc – I use them and I’m building the same technology infrastructure whether 1 person uses it or a thousand.

The incremental cost of sharing it with the world at that point is, well, zero.

One thought on “Users are a Side Effect or Why Google’s Web Applications are Free

  1. I really like this viewpoint. It coincides nicely with a post that I am writing later about Google and their customer service, coming out of a line from CNet’s Buzz Out Loud that I heard last night.

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