Google’s grand ambitions

Google stretched its wings in 2008, furthering an expansion beyond its core search and search-advertising business. But the economy and the government raised the possibility that those wings could be clipped.The company began the year overcoming opposition to its $3.1 billion acquisition of DoubleClick, a move that gave Google more clout in the market for graphical “display” ads. But that antitrust fight was a harbinger of things to come.In April, Google showed its ambitions to house not just its own online applications such as Google Docs, but also others’ with a project called Google App Engine. Basic applications are free, but more taxing ones cost money, a pay-as-you-go model that’s popular with the cloud-computing concept.

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