Hats off to Tony Keusgen and Google New Zealand for training recent graduates in the art of helping companies with online strategies. It may help ease smaller businesses into the online world ahead of the UltraFast Broadband roll-out.
Keusgen announced the plan to train 100 people at the recent Telecommunication Carriers Forum Mind Storm conference in Auckland.
He told delegates at the event the UFB network on its own will not get local companies moving online – partly because there aren’t enough people with the right skills serving smaller companies. He has a point.
The plan isn’t what it seems to be.
Google’s two-day training course will give people Google+ certification. The course details show it is about selling the company’s AdWords product.
In other words, it is not general training in online strategies, but training in using Google products and services to offer those online strategies. In other words it will bind 100 young people into Google’s world and by extension will make it easier for Google to sell to the thousands of companies they will consult to.
There’s nothing wrong in this. Nothing at all. Technology companies provide training to help customers and others buy things from them all the time. The products and services are complex. Sales people can’t whizz through these things in five minutes.
While there’s nothing wrong with it, it is not philanthropy. It is business development.
Yet that’s not how Google sold its message to the Mind Storm audience and it is not how the media reported it.