Very thoughtful article, Daniel. You’re very right that Google has made some bad bets in terms of long-term viability. As a very early employee there, I can tell you that corporate culture has taken a turn for the very worse, and I personally watched the company lose out on turning a $14MM account into a $100MM account last year because they literally could not schedule a meeting with an executive.
“Google” as an idea is in no danger of disappearing, but the ad company is definitely going to have to shift its approach to supply channels. Doubling down on VR content (and advertising in that medium) will bring in some revenues on those platforms, but in the near term, it won’t be more than a drop in the bucket for Google’s overall revenues.
Likely, Google will find its future tied very intimately to solving the largest planet-scale problems with their expertise in machine learning, quantum computing, and artificial intelligence. There’s a lot of meat on those bones, and Alphabet as a whole is much further along in these fields than most people currently appreciate. I expect a major public announcement in quantum computing within 18 months.
With Alphabet trimming many of the moonshot programs over at X, there is clear signaling from management that a focus on revenue is going to be very important for the long-term viability of the company … finally.