Google Love

I received a great article in my RSS Reader today, from Michael Arrington of TechCrunch.

It seems like Google has launched yet another product, or at least an extention of a project. Google have added Albums to Picasa. Whoopee. It still doesn’t allow tagging, sharing, commenting, and most importantly it is not filckr web based.

Google have already launched Google Spreadsheets this week. An online version of Microsoft Excel to add to their array of online services. What gets me though is why are they diluting their brand? I’ve always thought of Google as a market innovator, a company that has to offer services that are unique, that add value to the end-user.

When was the last time Google did that? Probably when they launched their search engine, with an abundance of search results, retrieved quickly, and viewed in an easy-to-use format. Then there was G-Mail, a free email a service, which offered you heaps of space, 1GB, as opposed to Hotmail and Yahoo Mail. Finally, there was Google Maps, a web service that revolutionised mashup sites.

Since then there have been loads of, what look like, attempts to kill Microsoft, Microsoft Office in specific. Market Innovator? I think not.

As Michael writes “Google needs to embrace the possibility of failure”. Some things Microsoft have made do work, and work really well, expensive of course, but innovative. Google will still make heaps of money, and own half the world’s Web 2.0 companies, if they just leave this area of expertise alone. I must admit I’m a stranger to their online office suite, and am probably being quite arrogant in saying this (I’m basing my article on what I’ve read of other people’s experiences), but Microsoft Office works well for me, and I don’t feel the need to look to Google for my word processing. Their search engine gets enough of my time.

I think I should end it here. See what you South Africans think about Google. Are you still a Google-lover? Do you think they are still being innovative? Are they eating too much pie? Comment on my opinionated thoughts, but before you do, read Michael Arrington’s article over at TechCrunch. Read all the 154, and counting, comments below it too! It’s a great subject of debate.

7 responses

  1. Lately I find myself using Yahoo! search over Google and finding what I wanted much quicker and easier. Sometimes I just don’t understand the split results I get with all the ads and gimmicky suggestions that Google throws in the mix.

    For me, Google started losing focus way back when they introduced AdSense. I think I loved them up until that point. Not to say I don’t love them now – their local search is very useful – but they give me more reason to suspect their intentions with every new product they release.

  2. Look at this gem: Google Browser Sync for Firefox – “an extension that continuously synchronizes your browser settings – including bookmarks, history, persistent cookies, and saved passwords – across your computers”…

    Hellllo, major trust issues.

  3. Is Google losing the plot?…

    So there is no denying the fact that Google is the most significant technology company to come along in recent years and I think most of us have walked a long road right from the beginning with ol’ Larry and Sergey, I for one converted way back i…

  4. I think alot of people aren’t getting the big picture of what Google is actually trying to do. Google’s not trying to take over Microsoft’s turf with these offerings like Google Spreadsheets, Writely, Calendar and Gmail. They are getting people to become more dependant or use these products for a bigger reason. Money. Getting you to use Google search more, create more websites with adsense etc, and make Google money.

    Think about what Apple does with iTunes music store. Apple hardly makes money from iTunes, but what it does do is sell iPods. Thats makes Apple money. They are doing one thing to bring them to the brand, and then you are handing over money to Apple.

    All I’m saying is don’t always take things at face-value.

  5. Hey JBagley,

    I totally agree that the motive at the end of the day has to be money, but c’mon if you are trying to make money please take the effort to release something worth mentioning.

    Remember when everyone was frothing at the mouth to get that first GMail Beta account? Well I couldn’t care less about checking out half of the doohicky they have been releasing recently, hey, maybe there are enough sheep to follow them and to convert to every single app they release, but personally I need more.

    What happens when the stock starts dipping and they need to downsize, what is going to fly out the window first? You can bet on it that it won’t be Search, that is still there core business.

    All I am saying is, have they run out of ideas or do they have a big bingo machine in the corner that churns out ideas in the form of one letter at a time?

    “Oh look! That kinda spells `spretshot` , ah it looks like `spreadsheet` or close enough, lets develop/aquire it!”

    If only they brought out gems like Apple iTunes, which is actually a good product featuring hugely tight integration with the iPod, making a real world case for why you would actually want to use it, other than “because everything is moving to a web platform” etc etc.

    Please Google, use all that money and brains and wow me, develop “free” software by all means, but please just make it decent..

  6. I’m not certain I agree with all the Google-bashing going on here and elsewhere 😉 Google is potentially unique in the way it approaches the market: they are in it for the cash, obviously. But they don’t sell their products – that is a main difference to the M$ofts of the world. Sure, Google Spreadsheets (as one example) may be nowhere near mature and offer all features Excel does. But it’s available anywhere you have an Internet connection and allows you to share your worksheet with anyone else. Web 2.0/AJAX applications are, in my opinion, the next wave: Microsoft is also following that trend with their Live range – except, they’ll probably make you pay to use. So you have a choice: if you don’t like Google’s innovation, privacy isseus or it’s limited set of features you are always free to use something you need to pay for. The trend is to be freed from the desktop, and I think that’s what Google is indicating they are quite good at…

  7. I’m glad this article has sparked debate, debate is good.

    In response to Jason I think Conrad has responded for me. In response to Manfred:

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big Google fan, I use their product/s on a daily basis, and I will continue to d so. I totally agree with you about Web 2.0/AJAX being the next big thing.

    I must reiterate my view though. I feel Google is biting off more than they can chew, trying to compete with everyone and everything, diluting their brand. A commenter on Techcrunch wrote “there’s an inconsistency in expectations in what Google stands for vs. what they’re doing”.

    That is the point I’m trying to get across.

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