A timely Google reality check
Some Google-watchers see a much bigger challenge. “Google has been masterful at coming up with a lot of ideas, but none of them has matured to become something that moves the revenue needle,” says Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray, an investment bank. In fairness to the company, that is partly because many of its popular innovations, such as Gmail, have been given away to boost search-related advertising, which accounts for almost all of Google’s revenues. But search has been suffering in the downturn: in the second quarter of 2009 Google’s revenues were $5.5 billion, barely 3% higher than the same period in 2008. Time, then, for the company to find new ideas that can make a big splash.