What does Google sell?

Google is the search engine we all use. But we don’t pay each time we search something, right? And they have a ton of other widely used services, all free – Maps, YouTube, News, Gmail, Contacts, Calendar, Translate…it  goes on and on. It’s all free.

So what does Google sell? How do they make money?

To answer that, let’s try a different question.

Q: How much did Google earn from advertising in 2018?

A: Over $32.6 billion (Source)

So, what does Google sell? Google sells YOU. Your attention, your eyeballs, and your data.

It’s been said that when a service is “free”, then the product is you. Google sells “you” to anyone who will pay.

So, Google is in advertising primarily. The search thing is just a tool, like running a magazine. 

This is a slightly roundabout way to invite you to question WHY you’re doing something, and what’s the reason you’re doing something a particular way. Why are you working? Why are you buying that brand of beer? Why are you choosing to spend money or save? Why are you watching TV or why are you choosing to exercise or play a board game with the family?

The underlying purpose of Google is to make money advertising things. It’s not immediately apparent, but with just a few minutes of thinking about, it gets pretty clear.

What’s your underlying purpose? Why are you being the ‘you’ that you are?

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