Google's Global Expansion Strategies

By Eleanor McKenzie

Google's domination of the search engine industry, and its emergence as a competitor in the smartphone market, is due to its expansion strategy, as well as the success of its original search engine product. Google's acquisition strategy, which is based on a philosophy of only buying in small niche markets, and only when it can't produce the product better in-house, has made a significant contribution to its global expansion, according to business analysts.

Search Engine

When Stanford students Larry Page and Sergey Brin launched Google in 1998, the company's mission statement announced that its aim was "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." The search engine -- Google Search -- distinguished itself from previous search engines by looking for search terms in website text and ordering the search results by relevance. The launch of Google domains for countries outside the United States, such as google.es for Spain, allowed users to look for references in their own language. This was the start of creating a global brand.

Languages

In May 2000, Google launched the first foreign language versions starting with 10 European languages. By September of that year, it expanded to include Chinese, Korean and Japanese. As a reflection of Google's corporate humor, it also included Klingon as a language preference, perhaps in a bid for intergalactic expansion, or to attract Star Trek fans. It opened its first international office in Tokyo in August 2001, and in October 2004, it opened an office in Dublin, Ireland, staffed by multilingual Googlers to service its customers across multiple time zones and languages.

Android

Google acquired Android in 2005, but it did not immediately announce it had any plans to enter the mobile device market. Android was a small software development company specializing in mobile devices. When Apple launched the iPhone in 2007, Google was not far behind as it launched the Android operating system for smartphones in the same year. The advantage for Google of developing an operating system, rather than a Google phone, was that various manufacturers could adopt the platform. Motorola, Samsung and LG were among the first brands to use the Android platform. Google also developed an app store, and a software development kit for app developers. Market analysts use this as an example of Google's expansion strategy: It developed what was already a strength rather than break into new territory.

Browser, Mail and Maps

Google has also developed its own browser -- Google Chrome, Gmail and Google Maps. These are further examples of Google expanding its brand and keeping the Internet user within the brand whatever the activity. It also owns YouTube and Blogger, and Google is developing social networking tools, such as Google+, which allows Internet users to "like" a search result in the same way as they can "like" a Facebook page. In its philosophy, Google states that it wants to provide "a fast, accurate and easy-to-use service" for everyone, regardless of whether you are in Boston or Bangkok.