In this video, Fool contributor Tim Beyers sits down with Richard Engdahl to talk comics, TV, movies, tech, and related geekery. Tim is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team, as well as the real-money Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I growth portfolio.
In this segment, Tim attributes much of the run-up in Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) stock to its flexibility -- the tech giant can find ways to contribute to nearly any field in today's world, and has an all-but-unlimited reach as users become increasingly comfortable with working in the cloud.
A full transcript follows the video.
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Richard Engdahl: I remember when Google acquired YouTube. It doesn't seem like it was that long ago. People were questioning the value of YouTube at the time. "What are they going to do with this? How is this valuable to them?"
Google notoriously takes small bets like that, and some of them pan out. YouTube obviously has, and they've managed it extremely well.
Tim Beyers: Yeah.
Engdahl: What else do you see Google doing these days, that is actually coming to fruition in the way that YouTube has?
Beyers: You know, it's almost like, "What is Google not going to do?" They are touching everything.
I think when you think about your mission as organizing the world's data, and then taking it even further and saying, "Using data to make life better," like in the case of Calico, which is this health-care enterprise that Arthur Levinson is going to run on behalf of Google -- he's the former Genentech guy, board of directors for Apple, and apparently a friend of Google CEO Larry Page.
They want to use data, presumably to figure out ways to extend human life. That's just fascinating.
Google is one of the great companies of all time because the options for what it can do, and still stay within the general vicinity of its mission, are almost endless. You can use data to improve business and life in so many ways, and Google's just figured that out.
They do two things. They either give you the means to do more with data, or they give you a platform for generating data -- that's Android. Google Apps would be the former. It's a fascinating study.
I do think the next big catalyst, though, to get to your question, might be Google Apps. I think people have become very comfortable with using the Chrome browser and just doing productive work in the cloud, because we are a multidevice workforce now.
We'll start at a computer, we'll move to a smartphone, move to a tablet. The cloud is very conducive for that type of behavior, which makes Google Apps really valuable.
Engdahl: I don't know. ... This is a funny question, perhaps. I don't really know if I'm a Google Apps user or not, because of the merging of apps with the browser.
Sometimes an app that's on my Google home page or whatever seems more like a link to a Web page than it does something independent of that.
Engdahl: Could you describe that universe a little bit?
Beyers: Sure. What good news for Google [stock] that is, by the way. It's so unobtrusive that you have sort of fallen into the Google Apps type of behavior without even realizing that that's something you had to do.
But yeah, the way this breaks out is, say you open a Chrome browser and Google has some links, or even just an icon that says, "I want to write a document," so you push on the Google Docs icon, and all of a sudden you have the ability to start writing a document as if it were Microsoft Word, but you're operating in Chrome.
Similarly, Chrome is like iTunes, in the sense that these links, as you describe it -- or apps -- are just icons that exist in the Chrome store. Just a little code loads up into Chrome. Say you want to access QuickBooks, which I do. I access it online, and it just becomes a link to me, that I can get to very easily from inside Chrome.
That's not a Google App, per se, but because it's very convenient, that's just Google getting me more used to, and more comfortable with, working in the cloud, working in a browser as my natural work environment. The more that I do that, the more data Google collects.