Posted December 3, 2008 10:42 am by with 18 comments

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While Google may be the darling of the tech industry, it’s not immune to the worsening economic conditions–aka the recession. A share price of just $275 is all the proof you need.

The Wall Street Journal takes a close look–aka one long article that includes everything we’ve covered over the past few months–at how Google is battening down the hatches.

If you rely on any of Google’s fringe services, you should be concerned about this:

So with the U.S. economy in a recession, Google is ratcheting back spending and cutting new projects. “We have to behave as though we don’t know” what’s going to happen, says Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt. The company will curtail the “dark matter,” he says, projects that “haven’t really caught on” and “aren’t really that exciting.” He says the company is “not going to give” an engineer 20 people to work with on certain experimental projects anymore. “When the cycle comes back,” he says, “we will be able to fund his brilliant vision.”

Google has already pulled the plug on Lively and SearchMash–easy decisions considering they had no momentum–but what about the other “non-search” offerings?

If your business relies on anything outside of Google’s core offerings–search, ads and apps–then you might want to consider a back-up plan. Google could pull the rug at any time.

What service do you think Google will shut down next?

  • They could shut down the photos thing they do without me even noticing.

    Mike’s last blog post..Who Does Your Theme Site Link To

  • I guess we need a definition from Google as to what are fringe services to THEM. I have been amazed at how many different offerings Google has for the small business market that many folks didn’t know even existed. Google still has tremendous opportunity to provide core business services to the SMB market and further put their talons into the small biz market that could be where their real future growth can come from.

    Frank Reed’s last blog post..Search is About Basic Blocking and Tackling

  • Jaiku.

    They’ve done nothing with it except lock it up into an eternal closed beta. Pownce has conceded defeat to Twitter. If Google’s dropping poor-performers and bad risks, I think it’s only a matter of time before they’ll fold Jaiku.

  • It’s more worrying than Wall Street thinks. If Google has got so many areas it can shut down because of the economic situation it shows how unfocused the business has become. Is it a search engine or a small business software provider? Is it an advertising agency or is it a blog publisher? What is Google? It seems as though they don’t know any more because they are able to close down “dark matter”. In other words, like many good businesses before them, they have allowed themselves to wander off into tangential areas. Once they do that – and then have to cut back because of economic difficulties – they soon realise they don’t know what their core business really is. Corporate histories are littered with examples like Google – once great companies that allowed their success to go to their heads. They became unfocused and found they had to cut back to their “core” only to find that when they got there other people were doing it better. Google needs to handle the coming months with extreme care.

  • Google has a lot of pet projects in it’s labs area that would most likely be the first to go. Some of those projects date back several years. In the down economy, they have a great opportunity to reach out to the SMB market who are desperately looking for ways to cut cost on core services. With the competition building in the cloud services / SaaS offerings, doing a better job of targeting their apps for domains is where they’d likely find some significant return. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them focus more of their engineers time and efforts there.

  • I think for this time will shut down first about new project and stop to do R&D until the crisis is getting better. About the stopping the main business? i think its imposible to stop that.. Stop the bleeding is the first target. I hope google not take decision to fired the employee to increase the stock.

  • One things I always remember someone said to me about this : “If I live by Google (Google Adsense), SOmeday, somehow I will “die” by google too”

    Busby SEO’s last blog post..By: Candry Johnson

  • Sorry: I mean : “If I ONLY live by Google”

    Busby SEO’s last blog post..By: Candry Johnson

  • in those days of recession SBM marketers really needs google. Not only a search engine and a great project maker Google provides SBM marketers lots of chances of earning. And so on, adsense users and seo masters can really have a lot of jobs to do. I believe Google’s algorithyms will include some criteria about that subject.

    Online-Marketer’s last blog post..Volkswagen GTI Review

  • You know thats actually good news for me because I rely on nothing but the search engines and a few adword campaigns. Cutting other programs means more focus on the ones they currently have.

    Matt Helphrey’s last blog post..Creating a Sales Funnel for your Online Business

  • I would include YouTube and Google Checkout in the “core” group and blogger very close, I think.

    John Hunter’s last blog post..Information Technology and Business Process Support

  • Thank you for the timely warning. It makes business sense but one hopes that Google will do the right thing and give advance notice to users.

    Nicole Price’s last blog post..Stylish Cookware

  • And this is why we “reads” this blog. Thanks for the heads up. @Nicole, I agree. It would be nice for Google to do the right thing.

  • Michael

    I dont think Google will cut too many of the services people ‘rely’ on. I mean, did anyone really ‘rely’ on Lively?

  • They’re bound to keep their core services and continue to innovate and improve

  • PS3

    When do you see things starting to improve in the US? Most people here in the UK have already written off 2009 and the more negativity there is, the worse it seems to get.

  • I dunno really. How about Knol?? They seem not to have been very successful with acquiring the domain Since the owner was wanting more than $1mil. for it. But, then again, Knol is quite developed.

    Super Affiliate Traffic’s last blog post..Super Affiliate Traffic by Erick Rockefeller and Howie Schwartz

  • They never notify you before banning your account.