Every time you read that a new product is being released by Google with no seeming reason but to give yous omething for free, http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/
Google Operating Systemever wonder what their strategy is? Google Docs, Google Earth, Picasa, Sketch-up, etc, everything Google releases is a product that gives the consumer something they always wanted for free.
"Google has a long-term strategy for its search engine and for the other services. "Our goal is to develop services that significantly improve the lives of as many people as possible. In pursuing this goal, we may do things that we believe have a positive impact on the world, even if the near term financial returns are not obvious. For example, we make our services as widely available as we can by supporting over 90 languages and by providing most services for free," wrote Google's founders in the IPO letter" [via Google Operating System]Now sure, eventuallly Google finds a way to make money (Ads are finally coming to Google image search and iGoogle some time in the next few months). And gaining market share by giving something away for free is classic undercutting. And giving us things for free actually gives them significant returns beyond finances (think of the custom maps we've built in Google Maps and the custom architecture developed with Sketchup and the world photos in Panoramio). But sometimes it feels like they're just good guys doing it out of their own good heart, trying to change the world one product at a time because they can afford to do the right thing.