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TheStreet Open House

The Digital Skeptic: Olympics Shines Light On Google's Doom

Stocks in this article: GOOG

No gold for Google
The thing is, the more I lived without Google at the games, the more I realized I could live without Google not at the games. Sure, from time to time there are things for which I needed Google, Yahoo! (YHOO) or DuckDuckGo. But we all have our news feeds, sports feeds and trusted brands for shopping. And who needs help finding Wikipedia?

And I'm not the only one noticing Google is not as critical as it once was. Operating and net margins have been falling for several quarters. And the company is beginning to whisper that it cannot win on all fronts like it did back in the day. In a blog post called Giving you a better Google, managers said they were cutting back on about 50 products.

"To make a difference," the post said, "we need to carefully consider what to focus on, and make hard decisions about what we won't pursue,"

Compare such sobering words to the nothing-but-winning Olympics. Rugby and golf will be added to the 2016 games. Tiger Woods playing for gold will do nothing but turbo-charge that tired sport. And the list of organized leagues that can gain from some five-ring love is staggering: karate, sport climbing and, most tantalizing of all, auto racing.

Think what General Motors (GM) would pay to be part of a gold medal won in a Chevy Malibu.

The Web is a game for losers
What the flame of the London 2012 Olympics illuminates for us is there is not much business sport in the basic organs of the Web. The secret to turning lots of small things into a big digital thing is just this simple -- and difficult: Invest in one-of-kind of content, strictly limit who has access to it, present it in a clear and organized way and market the heck out of it to get everyone to pay for it. Then stand back and let reality do the work.

Hoping to cut a corner on this process is a race for fools where nobody gets gold.

This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.
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