Self-driving cars. Computer glasses. And now, solar-powered, jet-sized drones.
Last week, Google acquired two-year-old start-up Titan Aerospace, apparently outbidding Facebook for the company. What the heck is Google doing?
For starters, Google’s management team hasn’t lost its marbles or fallen down the Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole. The Titan purchase is part of a smart, sophisticated business and marketing strategy that has technology as a key enabler.
Just what is Google’s business, though?
“Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Ok, so where and how do jet drones that are considered “atmospheric satellites” fit in? Channels and customer experience. Google’s overarching priority is to broadly and deeply deliver its services (channel management/expansion) and maximize customer experience. The Titan acquisition should be understood in this context.
Google relentlessly focuses on customer experience. They have an interesting section on their website titled “Ten things we know to be true.” It’s kind of their mission statement in long-form.
Number one on the list is “Focus on the user and all else will follow.” Google elaborates:
“Since the beginning, we’ve focused on providing the best user experience possible. Whether we’re designing a new Internet browser or a new tweak to the look of the homepage, we take great care to ensure that they will ultimately serve you, rather than our own internal goal or bottom line.”
In fairness, Google is a for profit company that wants the bottom line to expand, but their point remains a powerful go-to-market reminder: a constant focus on user experience is a healthy path toward making money!
Another item on Google’s Top Ten list is relevant here: “You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.”
“The world is increasingly mobile: people want access to information wherever they are, whenever they need it. We’re pioneering new technologies and offering new solutions for mobile services that help people all over the globe to do any number of tasks on their phone, from checking email and calendar events to watching videos, not to mention the several different ways to access Google search on a phone.”
Clearly, the Titan technology has potential to support a more robust and easy-to-access Internet. Various news reports of the acquisition mentioned how the unproven technology might one day allow Google to bring the Internet to remote regions not currently or easily served by existing Internet delivery technologies. And, maybe the drones can support Google’s mapping services. Or provide better weather forecasting.
Resist the easy temptation to dismiss Google Air Force. There is precedent for absorbing and applying technology in previously unforeseen ways. Consider this:
“We [Google] acquired digital mapping company Keyhole in 2004, and launched Google Maps and Google Earth in 2005. Today Maps also features live traffic, transit directions and street-level imagery, and Earth lets you explore the ocean and the moon.”
And, understand the powerful, hand-held device that billions worldwide can’t live without today – the smartphone – was once a pipe dream. Who could have imagined that the hi-tech communicator made famous by Star Trek Captain William T. Kirk would turn out to be reality. Ok, everything but the “beam me up Scottie” feature. Maybe there’s a Google scientist working on that too.
Here comes Google Air Force. The purchase of Titan Aerospace and its jet drone technology is the latest execution of Google’s go-to-market strategy that has technology as a key enabler. That strategy also includes channel expansion and maximizing user experience.
Harvey Chimoff is a hands-on marketing leader and business-wide collaborator who drives success in B2B/B2C organizations.