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Paul Hudson
Paul Hudson CEO of Intersperience
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Have you been Googled?

“I’ll Google that” is a phrase we use when we want to look up information. “To Google” has become an everyday verb! But I think businesses should also have a phrase, “To be Googled”, which would be used to describe severe technology disruption in a sector. “To be Googled” should be feared, but expected. 

What am I talking about? Well, this week I read that Google is planning to launch a rival to Spotify, as if the music industry hasn’t seen enough disruption already! Now the industry is trying to fend off another wave of disruption, this time from Google, in the form of streaming music content. 

Google is everywhere these days, we’ve got Android mobile, Google Maps, Google News, Google Shopping and now Google Play. Through these, Google is severely disrupting advertising, shopping, TV (via YouTube) and even market research (in the form of Google Surveys)! So I propose the phrase “To be Googled” should be used when a sector or business has been severely disrupted – Spotify may be saying, “We’ve been Googled” in a few years time. This phrase might help businesses plan better for change. 

So which sectors will see the biggest disruption in the next 5-10 years? Who’s going to be Googled first? 

Here’s my guess, add yours below.

  • Broadcast TV has been changing for a few years; first with time-shifting PVRs, then catch up TV, more recently On Demand TV (LoveFilm Instant and Netflix) and soon YouTube (yes, Google owned) will soon launch subscription streaming too. Broadcast TV will be severely Googled as a result – note Sky’s launch of NowTV to understand how worried they are that Pay-TV is threatened.
  • Retail. Although not directly Google’s actions to date, various retailers (Such as HMV) could say they’ve been Googled already, by not planning for disruption. Mobiles and Tablets (Android included) are set to shake this sector to its core – and I don’t think they’ve fully grasped the extent to which they will be Googled in the next 10 years.
  • News and Publishing. It’s fair to say that newspapers have already been Googled to some extent as they play catch up to the digital age (and Google News). The book publishing industry is doing a better job at handling the download e-book market than the music industry did. But, there is a lot more to come yet. Amazon is a big disrupter here too, but Google are currently digitising the world’s book content and is involved in some serious legal cases too – so be prepared to see some major changes in this sector. 
  • Film – not directly Google (yet!) but on demand and download films may have the same impact on the film industry as iTunes did on music. Google have yet to show their hand in this market, but that may just be a matter of time. 
  • Energy. Changes to government regulation are having a direct impact on this sector too. Google's online reach means that they could expand into any market they find lucrative. Current big suppliers could be Googled if they aren't ready for Google (and others) to enter the market by leveraging their brand and technological advantage. For example, they could offer SMART metering apps and tools that help you manage your energy and find you the best rates. It may not happen, but even if it’s not Google, this sector is set for massive change later this decade.

So who do you think is set to be Googled? Which sectors are set to be changed fastest? Add your thoughts below. If you want any more inspiration, also see Deloitte’s infographic here

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