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Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Friday 30/04/2004How do you make a Google float? Sergey and Larry think they can reinvent the whole IPO business by promising not to be evil and flogging their shares in an auction.

Friday 30/04/2004
How do you make a Google float? Sergey and Larry think they can reinvent the whole IPO business by promising not to be evil and flogging their shares in an auction. I can't wait to see the eBay listing: "L@@K! RARE SEARCH COMPANY! MINT! NO RESERVE (not plugged in, not tested, no returns)". They also say that they won't be telling everyone the sorts of things that listed companies normally say, that it's definitely going to remain their baby and that they'll do things that look weird but that's OK, that's just because the rest of us won't be able to understand. Unique people make unique things, I guess, and that things stay beyond normal life and common understanding.

But it's all very exciting. Yet while the company has healthy revenues and is still innovating, it's worth remembering Netscape. That company was once as synonymous with browsers as Google is with search engines, but it never managed to make it stick. Users are ferociously disloyal: they expect everything for nothing (which Google happily provides), but if someone else comes up with a slightly better version of everything for nothing then they'll move across almost overnight. Gmail may be the best chance Google has of avoiding that fate: people don't like changing their email address, and once they've settled down to the idea of the adverts -- as they will -- that lead will be Google's to lose.

We await developments with interest...