Jeremiah Owyang: Google Enters the Collaborative Economy in a Big Way

ATN-300InsightaaS: Prompted by my interest in the work of Jeremiah Owyang, ATN has featured many pieces on the collaborative economy. The pace and increasing depth of discussion in this area has been remarkable: it hasn’t been a year since the first ATN post on the collaborative economy (Owyang’s original honeycomb diagram), but ince then, ATN been drawn back to the subject by many fascinating posts, including Owyang’s updated version of the honeycomb and research on winning strategies in this space, Nicholas Carr’s musings about the impact of sharing economy firms like Uber on employment standards, and even a New York Times piece stating that the collaborative economy isn’t about collaboration at all, but rather, about access. 

Today’s ATN looks at Owyang’s analysis of Google’s activities in the collaborative economy space. He begins by highlighting five current or pending actions: investments in Uber and Lending Club, its plans to roll out self-driving cars, resale of P2P loans, the “Google Now” app and its partnership with Airbnb and Lyft, and its rumoured plans to build an app to compete with Uber. Owyang then goes on to speculate on what Google’s activities might mean to the collaborative economy ecosystem, identifying seven ways that Google might/will impact current participants – both buyers and suppliers. 

Owyang believes that Google “will be in a dominant position if they can successfully deploy” their assets within the collaborative economy. This will have multiple impacts on participants: Owyang highlights the idea that “Google and Uber are in a tenuous relationship,” that collaborative economy “startups have no choice but to evaluate partnering with Google,” and that “sharing economy idealists [will] feel threatened” as large tech companies like Google encroach on their “quaint neighborhood.” On another level, Owyang observes that Google will help accelerate collaborative economy activity: he believes that investors will “embrace Google’s streamlining of the market” and that buyers will find that Google validates the entire approach – that it “mainstreams access to real-time services rather than ownership.”

Owyang concludes by observing that “Google’s mission is to organize the worlds’ information, but they won’t stop there. They’ll also organize our delivery, our transportation, our food service, our money, and our lives,” and closes by saying “Here comes Google. Get ready.” Increasingly, this applies to “businesses” rather than traditional technology competitors and/or partners.

Here comes Google, with a series of five market moves injecting them as a central player for the collaborative economy.

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information. But it doesn’t just start and stop there. They also want to organize the world’s logistics, commerce, local transportation, service economy, and even how people obtain and receive loans.

In the past, our perspective of the Collaborative Economy has been through startups, like Airbnb, oDesk, Lyft, Uber and Lending Club that enable people to get what they need from each other, using commonly available technologies like online marketplaces and mobile apps.

Today, Google has entered the Collaborative Economy with a series of announcements that leave a casual reader scratching their head. But placing the announcements line by line, you can see an organized attempt to enter this space traditionally dominated by early stage startups.

  1. Google is a major investor in Uber and Lending Club. They started with investments, a great way to test the waters…


Read the entire post on Owyang’s website: Link


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