Disclaimer: I like google, they’ve produced some amazing innovative things [IN THE PAST], but the past year or so has been a horrible game of Catch Up, as if they’re reading the newspapers about what’s been popular for a year and decide “Let’s make a knock off TJ Maxx version of something successful” and I’m sorry but it isn’t working!
Hi Google, you may know me… I use your Analytics, I host email off of your gmail redirectors, I also take advantage of numerous apps as well!
I feel it’s important that we discuss a number of… pursuits you’ve made in the most recent past. Let’s start with…
Google Wave (-25)
WTF? I don’t want to go too much into this, because I think it’s been said by a lot of people. Definitely, well done on mashing up a bunch of functionality very poorly to lump it together in an even more mismanaged interface. We won’t discuss this any further. I just wonder when it’ll be seen for the fail it clearly is, OR you actually innovate and make it into something successful.
Google Voice +-0
Hey! This is quite possibly one of the best things you’ve done in a long while! Sure it isn’t innovative – But it IS useful, in numerous ways most of which are likely not the intended usage, grin. So, well done on executing a ‘strategy’ which has been done poorly for a very long time. There’s a lot of potential there, and in the right cross-hairs it can integrate well, but innovation it is not.
Google Mail +-0
I like Google Mail, it’s like the Google version of Hotmail and Yahoo mail – Again, it’s not innovative, but definitely a useful strategy for getting consumers over to your network. I know how the backend mail storage is handled and I actually find that quite nice and promising. So innovative on the back-end, but from a ‘user’ stand point, there is no clear innovation which really stands out here. Oh, integrating Google Talk into it? Excellent, Hey, wait, isn’t that like Exchange with Office Communicator? Yea, again nice catch up :)
Google Buzz (-50) WTF
Oh I get it! You think that by adding Facebook and Twitter together you’ll get Super Twitter Facebookery! Yea, totally. Following that logic, if I combine bugs with lightning, I should get lightning bugs. But sadly, jumping 2-3 years late into something you PREVIOUSLY failed with Jaiku and trying to put some ‘Buzz’ around it by calling it Buzz? +1 in Marketing name Innovation, but a absolute FAIL on setting a clear direction, strategy and executing on it. Just as an FYI: A majority of people use Twitter and Facebook as a means of communicating with a community, peers and others – and frankly if I wanted a consolidated source of whatever kind of ‘direction’ you’re claiming to project with Buzz – Err, I think I just described FriendFeed! Way to play catch up twice!
Google Android (-5)
Now you’re just taking the piss. 3 years after the release of the iPhone you announce Android! It may as well have been 300 years, because it’s pretty clear that in the most recent round of recession based layoffs that all of the talent which would have made the Android a complete success were no longer there. Grin. This whole post may come across as negative, but in actuality it’s just an honest reflection of a constant (and moreso recently) failure to understand your audience, or I guess to understand we’re not simply idiots, we ARE buying Vision when we buy android, however you’re giving us a myopic vision so far filled with cataracts on the horizon.
Google Maps +1
I like and use Google Maps, though I wish you were a tad more respectful for preferences, to the kind of things I get out of Yahoo Maps. You really took it up a notch here with Google Streetview, while that did nudge on some people’s ‘”Privacy” rights and violations, it did provide a vehicle for really breaking down barriers of ‘streets’ to bringing ‘locations’ to the masses of the world. Why can’t you take this kind of strategy which said “Let’s do something like no other” and apply it to other areas, where you’re playing apparently LAME copycat games.
Google Search +5
To say I don’t use Google Search is like saying “Oh yea, I use Bing for everything”, which is clearly a joke. Hey, I love Microsoft, and I absolutely love some of the innovations around Bing! Now make the content relevant to ME and we might be getting somewhere. But I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have to search 25 pages in to find something I CARE about, whereas Google? You have my option on the first page? What’s that? It’s even in the top 5 positions, 95% of the time? Thanks Google! It’s almost like this was the bread and butter you built your business on, but I digress. You haven’t really innovated anything new in this space in recent times, other than “What’s local” and while you’ve kept up appearances of keeping the upper hand over all of the other search engines, I’m not saying I expect more from the search engine capability – But it may be time to see how you can leverage this to improve your other solutions and innovate! Oh and not through senseless tat like I’ve mentioned above.
Google BlogSpot “Blogger” +-You Don’t deserve a rating
I don’t think there is any lack of google searches you can find which won’t tell you just how much I HATE BlogSpot. I’m sure it’s all fine and dandy for people who find WordPress or TypePad (Yea, I don’t like you either TypePad, but for different reasons) difficult. However, Your FORCED and I mean FORCED like in Microsoft Style “Make me login with my Passport to try to do ANYTHING” submission you force upon me to comment on people’s blogs? Seriously? Hey, let’s CONSIDER for a moment open standards. The credentials I use 99% of the time which happen to be tied to my domain do not automatically pass through when I hit a Blogger based site, and it wants to comment with the wrong creds. I find the system doesn’t then let me comment using another set of credentials, I get frustrated, I don’t comment and I further go on hating BlogSpot. Perhaps this is just a poor attempt at integrating Blogger (Who was decent BEFORE you purchased it) into the fold of the trillion other apps you have out here – Ooh, perhaps you should non-innovate on something “like” Microsoft Passport, but one which doesn’t suck like Microsoft’s or your own today! That’d be a non-innovation, but frankly, just opening up a Facebook/Twitter oAuth sounds like a better idea, grin.
Google Chrome +-0
Two years ago, I might have given this a plus, but seriously. I do like the description on the google options page “A browser built for speed, stability and security” Strangely, three things it doesn’t exactly do very well. Speed is AMAZING if I’m a single threaded boy living in a single threaded world, however as my usage goes up, scalability (not even mentioned!) goes through the floor, and with it goes Speed and Stability. It’s because of that I cannot even begin to imagine it being appropriate for an audience like me. I wasn’t even a “casual user” as I adopted the full use of Chrome 100% of the time, and found that I was using it for 98% of all of my web traffic, until I encountered scalability fail, and that story I’ll end there :) The real story behind Chrome is a ‘competitive keeping up appearances battle with Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer’, but it isn’t exactly what I would call an innovative browser in any sense of the word, Sorry.
I could literally go on forever, because frankly Google has a lot of stuff, but I think I’ll end it on this one last ‘innovative’ note..
Google Invites +-WTF?!
Looking up the definition for “invite” by doing a “define: invite” in my browser, I come across several topical definitions: “tempt”, “have as a guest”, “request the participation”, “attractive and tempting”, although no where in those definitions does it say “Hey, let’s be a douche and stingy about our Invites”, I also seemed to miss the definition whereby “smoke and mirrors” was used in lieu of releasing a viable solution which actually DOES have a strategy and a vision. Yea I know, it has the name “Beta” on it, which clearly means we have no semblance of planning, but let’s get with the program. Every one on the planet wants to Opt-in for the latest and newest Google solution, just like everyone wants to try out the new Apple products 500 years before they’re “announced” yet, they’re so secretly kept under wraps that we’re all bored by the time they get released because it’s blatantly obvious. Perhaps what might make your invites a little more, relevant could be Use Cases! (OMFG HE DID NOT JUST SAY THAT) Yea, I used the 4 letter word (2 words, 3+5 letters, but if you divide by 2, oh my!) Day 1 “Who has an invite for x!” Day 10 “Hey, anyone want an invite?” Day 100 “WTF Why is this still a crappy beta and I have a zillion invites!” Yea, let’s focus a tad bit more on innovation, be a little more liberal with your ‘invite’ stream, and perhaps even have a viable feedback mechanism! (Whoa! Google Feedback with PSR like capabilities built into the application so people can provide content back to you? Oh no you didn’t!)
Alright, I’ll wrap it up here. Seriously, I do love you guys, I’m sure you’ve lost a lot of great talent, and probably a majority of your creative talent too (If I’m wrong, let me know, perhaps you’ve overworked by trudging on some stupid project by some visionless neophyte, it wouldn’t be the first time!) And if you want, we can sit down and discuss what ‘strategy’ and ‘vision’ are, perhaps even a little whiteboarding session on Creativity and innovation because I sadly haven’t been seeing much from you guys – And considering the level of talk of anti-trust and people considering Google to have even less Ethics than Microsoft did back in the day, I’d love to see so much more from you – Cmon, it’s the time of the “Cloud” so it’s time to get your head out of your asses and back into the clouds because that’s where “some” innovation might be found, frankly it’s gonna need more of it and not the constant parroting of what sucks today but in a cloudy model!
Feel free to challenge or call me out on anything I said, Googlers, Others, friends, foes and the like – These reflect my opinions and the thoughts and feelings of every one of you out there who would never say this in public but know you feel it and want to say something :)