Google’s long term strategy is simple – throw things against the wall and see what sticks. Some people think Google is building a Web OS, but that would require some long term strategy. I don’t think Google has any strategy.
At the bottom of that page you can find this disclosure:
* Full-disclosure update: When we first wrote these “10 things” four years ago, we included the phrase “Google does not do horoscopes, financial advice or chat.” Over time we’ve expanded our view of the range of services we can offer –- web search, for instance, isn’t the only way for people to access or use information -– and products that then seemed unlikely are now key aspects of our portfolio. This doesn’t mean we’ve changed our core mission; just that the farther we travel toward achieving it, the more those blurry objects on the horizon come into sharper focus (to be replaced, of course, by more blurry objects).
This of course gives them free reign to do anything they like and say “Oh, its all about accessing or using information”. But everything we do on a computer is accessing or using information. So that statements becomes absolutely meaningless.
A little research shows that this statement was on the page a lot less than 4 years ago. The internet archive shows the page in November 2004 with ” Google does search. Google does not do horoscopes, financial advice or chat.” on it in November 2004. It may have even been there more recently, but the archives don’t seem to have any updates since that time.
So they went from “we don’t do chat” to releasing a chat service in well under a year. Now that’s a flip-flop even a politician could be proud of!