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Chicago Tribune: Google is scary in a Wal-Mart kind of way.

 7:47 pm on Sep 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well worth a read:


Google is more like a cocky yet insecure teenager--always looking over its shoulder for the next threatening rival.

It wants every move on the Internet to go through its disarmingly simple home page, period.

Google has devised ways to make billions by linking advertisements to such queries. And to old-line industries, Google is scary in a Wal-Mart kind of way.

"The sense that Google can do everything well has been tarnished," said Joe Kraus, who co-founded and then sold Excite.com, which pioneered computer search in the early 1990s. "They've made people say, `Wait a second, not everything coming out of Google is amazing.'"



 8:47 pm on Sep 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

:D internet is even too big for google...

there will be many google like companies in the new ten years.


 9:13 pm on Sep 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

>>>there will be many google like companies in the new ten years.

I beg to differ.


 9:33 pm on Sep 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

there will be many google like companies in the new ten years.

We can only hope so.


 9:45 pm on Sep 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

While the company started with a run of blockbuster hits--search, maps and Gmail--it hasn't had one since.

Aren't maps and Gmail recent compared to search? In fact, they are both (Gmail 2004, Maps 2005) newer than froogle (2002), which they are considering to be one of the recent flops.

Successful companies have flops, that is how you find the winners. And with Google, those flops don't have to be total flops either. They can be like open source project that can sit on a back burner (back server?) for a while to see if they take off or not.


 9:54 pm on Sep 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

I am less concerned about Google releasing mediocre services than taking away resources from their main product which is search.

I love Gmail, and their map product is great; the spreadsheet and calendar is not too shabby either.

As far as them being an Internet 'Wallmart', I probably can't agree, and would more likely put Microsoft in that category (they try but they haven't succeeded yet).


 11:00 pm on Sep 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

There are already many Google-like companies. Most of them make hardly any money, if any. They're not really Google's competition. Rather, it is the newer companies such as YouTube that are vying for Google's eyeballs (and apparently getting them).


 12:08 am on Sep 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

>> Aren't maps and Gmail recent compared to search? In fact, they are both (Gmail 2004, Maps 2005) newer than froogle (2002), which they are considering to be one of the recent flops.

They can't hide behind time this time (no pun intended). Two years or even a year with the exposure they got is good enough to see if the public in large embraces them or not.

The funny part is that Google, with mediocre services might win 100 000 users at a time, and in the end they all add up. in 5 years, they'll have something that appeals to everyone--provided resources are not taken from search. We hear of diversified companies selling this and that to focus on their core businesses so we have to see how Google manages that.


 12:16 am on Sep 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

The funniest thing to me is how folk rave on an on about a power growing in their midst, belittling all other contenders for their affections, a bit like commited spouses,,,

Then one day, the power has arrived an,,,,,,,

Think historically, remember before our time certain

Oil companies,,

Telephone companies,,

Anyway, I am a great admirwer of googles technique , if only there was a way to spread their talent an ability,,, ahh some people in years past had solutions


 12:21 am on Sep 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

What would you do with the best data set in the world?

Are Google like a good seo and keeping a little up their sleeves? Personally I'd say so. Wait till someone optimises past you (builds a better search engine) then strike out.

- Ben


 12:40 am on Sep 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Google Finance is an excellent example of how Google can with with a bit of a flop.

It is just a quickly tossed together mix of Google's aggregating software. They already had all the data they needed, so they just put it together in an attractive format. Then they added their Google Groups software to it, to give it the appearance of competing with Yahoo.

This caused Yahoo to scrabmle to restaff Yahoo! Finance, and fix all the bugs that people had been complaining about for years. Yahoo couldn't get a free ride anymore.

Then Yahoo!, in a fit of passion, went too far and did a "New Coke". They changed their message boards to behave more like Google Groups. The problem was that most message board *posters* and active users liked the format of the old Yahoo! message boards much better.

Those users went elsewhere to look for a place they liked better. For most of them, it wasn't Google for the message boards, because Google's message boards suck too. They mostly split off ont about 3 other boards.

How did google win in this case? A bunch of those users use the lsick Google finance front page for their stock tracking, while using the discussion boards on other sites. Sites that are not a direct competitor in Google's other money making areas.

They made Yahoo! spend money on developer time AND lose traffic.

Personally, I doubt that google has any developer time assigned to this "flop", but if anyone wants to spend their 20% play time on it, they can feel free.


 1:24 am on Sep 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Two or three weeks ago a Chicago Tribune reporter called and interviewed me about the Big Daddy update and the series of updates we have seen this summer (June 27th, July 27th, Aug 17th). I got the impression he was working on a web publisher angle and how we can end up living or dying based on Google updates.

Even if he didn't use any of the interview he did with me, this would have been an interesting angle to cover. It should have been part of article three which really seemed very abridged compared to the other two articles. Maybe they thought this part of the story would have been too esoteric for the average Tribune reader.


 12:54 pm on Sep 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Finally had time to read the story. I found it very disappointing for its length, and the amount of effort that obviously went into the reporting.

It really doesn't say much, or offer any new insights, aside from a few tidbits, like the fact that they discovered they weren't spending as much time on their cash cow and core product (search and adsense) as they thought they were.


 4:16 pm on Sep 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

If Google is so smart how come they missed myspace? Or is myspace "just a fad" a la Bill Gates?

Instead of Gspace, or something REALLY amazing that takes the online world by storm and is the most visited destination in North America in only two years, they are putting out Google calendar.

Thats what we really need - another online calendar!


 12:07 pm on Sep 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

Historically, you'd be hard-pressed to find many examples of hugely successful market-leaders who have been equally successful in creating pathbreaking new products -- particularly if those products are serving other markets, or have fundamentally different technical characteristics.

The Microsoft example is rather typica. They created a sustained appearance of innovation and rapid growth primarily through the shrewed use of sharp elbowed business tactics. Nearly all of their important product successes were attributable to the liberal use of cash, not creativity. Think of all the corporate acquisitions, "me too" product rollouts, packaging and bundling efforts, massive marketing campaigns, etc. That's where their continued success comes from, much more than from their actual ability to innovate in delivery of ground-breaking new products.

Most newspaper publishers didn't lead the way in radio and TV broadcasting, or cable TV systems, for that matter. Coal mining companies didn't pioneer the oil industry. Railroads didn't pioneer the trucking industry. And so forth.

Its unrealistic for anyone (Google's leaders included) to expect Google to profitably expand far beyond their existing, core focus in search and advertising. The more Google chases peripheral products and markets (e.g. Google calendar, GoogleSpreadsheet) the harder it will be for them to continue to te their core markets. Google has a huge headstart in both search and ad distribution; that lead won't last forever if Google's leaders get too bogged down chasing other rainbows.

It is also worth remembering that even their most noteworthy successes, like Google News, GoogleMaps and GoogleEarth aren't necessarily profitable. Anyone with a couple of billion dollars in the bank, and a willingness to spend some of their cash hoard can occasionally make a splash.

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