Google's Name may be Limiting for its Future

In an interesting feature in CNET News, Tom Krazit raises an interesting point that the Google brand has come to mean search, but their business is becoming much more than that. He speculates that Google will have to redefine its brand. I think there is another way to skin that cat.

Google is growing far beyond search. Mobile phones, e-mail, personal computing, broadband networking are just the beginning. Their culture of innovation is spurning a multitude of opportunities. My view is not to either redefine the Google brand or try to shoehorn new businesses into one umbrella brand, but explore different branding alternatives. There may be nothing wrong with different brands representing different lines of business. They could either stand apart, or be endorsed by Google. As long as their association with Google is understood, there are many ways to use branding to facilitate growth.

Think about the brands they already own: Android, Keyhole, DoubleClick, GrandCentral, Aardvark, Nexus One, Chrome, and Wave to name a few. While these came via acquisitions and internal development, they are brand assets worth considering even before creating new names.

Google should be driven by invention, not a branding convention that restricts their ability to innovate and move forward. From a branding standpoint, they need to adopt an attitude of flexibility, not rigidity, in approaching the future. Boy would I like to get my hands around this challenge.

Do you think Google can span all current and new directions?