Do you remember when Google acquired YouTube for $1.6 billion? I always ask this question when speaking at conferences and the reason behind this huge acquisition I believe, is because the company had inherently understood the concept of crowd-powered media.
Look at them now. “When the stock market opened on Tuesday, Google had a market value of $550.6 billion, beating out Apple’s market cap of $529.1 billion for the first time in its history,” Mashable writes. The figures implicate how Google overtook Apple regarding market capitalization “after a strong holiday quarter earnings report that drove its stock price up 5% overnight.”
The secret? It’s a no-brainer. Google (now Alphabet) is the master of the crowd-based business model. Here is how:
You influence Google search results
Whatever users search online, queries and clicks affect the search engine results. Have you ever wonder why business invest in SEO (search engine optimization) to acquire high rankings, perhaps even on page 1 results? As Moz founder, Randy Fishkin puts it, Queries & Clicks May Influence Google’s Results More Directly Than Previously Suspected.
Google Translate Community
GT itself is a combination of human translation and machine translation thanks to Google Translate Community that was launched in 2014 to crowdsource its translations to what? To improve the translations.
Leveraging on the community, this platform allows you to financial support your favorite website with a couple of dollars instead of them relying on online advertising. When you go to your favorite site, some of the allotted budgets will go to them automatically. In return, you get a thank you message on top of a pixellated box where an advertisement pops up.
Crowdsourced local guides
For those who aren’t familiar with this platform, this is a global community of explorers, sharing their discoveries on Google Maps. You get to see the hot spots in town, where to eat, things-to-do, make friends and unlock other perks along the way.
reCAPTCHA with human efforts
This is a service that protects your website from spam and abuse. Every time the CAPTCHAs are solved, your effort helps digitize text, annotate images, and build machine learning datasets. Reciprocally, you help preserve books, improve maps, and solve hard AI problems.
Google News Lab
The company is leveraging on sheer crowdsourced journalism in three ways: YouTube Newswire (in partnership with Storyful), a curated feed of the most newsworthy eyewitness videos of the day; The First Draft Coalition that consists of a community of experts to develop verification and ethics training, tools, case studies and the WITNESS Media Lab to crowdsourced videos human rights atrocities across the globe.
Do you see the pattern? Have you discovered that one thing that sets these platforms and services apart? They are all dependent on the community. Personally, I think without the crowd, Google will not be in such a place where it is now and where it is about to be heading.
The company’s accomplishments are encapsulated in the 5P’s of the crowd I’ve shared many times – the platform, product, purpose, participation, and most importantly, PEOPLE.
There are many more crowdsourced projects Google has been working on plus the companies acquired and invested in the Crowd Economy. I’ll write the second part of my blog later this month.
What are your thoughts?