Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Google's Crazy Lack of Focus: Is It Really Serious About Enterprise?

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the looking-for-ways-to-put-ads-in-your-brain dept.

Google 226

curtwoodward writes "Driverless cars. Balloon-based wireless networks. Face-mounted computers. Gigabit broadband networks. In recent months, Google has been unveiling a series of transformative side projects that paint a picture of the search pioneer expanding far beyond an online advertising company. At the same time, Google has been trying to convince enterprise software buyers that it's finally, really, truly serious about competing with Microsoft for their business. Which version of Google's future should you believe?"

cancel ×

226 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

All of them. (3, Insightful)

CRC'99 (96526) | about a year ago | (#44047643)

There is no real reason why Google can't do all of these things. Their core market is information. Gathering information. Processing information. Sorting and utilising information.

Once you're good at this, it isn't hard to expand into various uses for that information.

Re:All of them. (5, Insightful)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year ago | (#44047665)

There is no real reason why Google can't do all of these things

Except closing down projects that don't meet arbitrary internal goals without warning. Nobody is going to trust Google with enterprisey stuff, since they can't seem to hold focus long enough for people to actually build an infrastructure around their offerings. When the next new thing comes along, guess which balloon side project gets canned, for no reason, with no warning, leaving countless gimps clamoring for an alternative that is nowhere to be found.

They might be all about processing information, but they can't seem to actually monetize this beyond shoving ads in their users faces.

Re:All of them. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047731)

They have a pretty good migration shedule, sure, they "close" stuff without warning, but they give you plenty of time to get your data out. And most things that they close are not as popular as some of the users believe they are.

Since there is no alternative to be found, you also suggest that their producs are often either way better than the competition or really in niche markets. You can't really force them to keep running losing products, certainly not if they do not contribute to their core information gathering strategy. Youtube ran losses for a while, but it worked well with what they had.

Also, while ads certainly are their biggest feature, they have quite a few other products that either manage to substantially offset their costs or give profits.
Further on, it is also possible that contrary to what the title suggests, google really is focussed and all their products have something to do with the information gathering and processing that seems to be their core. And that does seem true. The fiber they roll out is because they want the internet to become faster, because nearly all of their business is on the internet, for android they want a better online mobile experience and have an ad market there. Chrome tries to improve the browser world to ensure they can get the informationt they need. Balloon wireless service just the same. Google knows that once the third world gets a bit of money, they will be looking to buy stuff like a washing machine, which they want to be the one showing the ad for. I am not sure I can fit the driveless car anywhere in the picture, but probably they don't want you to go offline during commute, they want you to be able to see their ads, especially since you will be near stores that do the advertising.

Re:All of them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047913)

" without warning, but they give you plenty of time" --- seems contradictory to me

Re:All of them. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44048035)

Thats why I had "close" between brackets. The parent post said "without warning" and I decided to stick with it. Their announcements of projects ending does come unexpected sometimes, but their actual closing date is very reasonable, with plenty of time to migrate.

Re:All of them. (2)

gtbritishskull (1435843) | about a year ago | (#44048615)

Driverless Car - Surfing the internet and looking at Google Ads while *not* driving.

Re:All of them. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44048957)

They have a pretty good migration schedule

Yeah - for your PERSONAL stuff that takes you 20 minutes to migrate or backup.

You've clearly never managed an enterprise software product. The entire point of enterprise software is that it affords deep integration into your workflows and internal processes and systems throughout the company.

"We're closing this down in 6 months" is barely enough time to plan a migration, much less actually PERFORM the migration. And that's the point: if Google wants BUSINESSES to trust that Google isn't going to pull the rug out from under them, then Google needs to start taking migrations and end-of-life's seriously.

It's fine if they want to be a consumer advertising company, and don't want the enterprise business. But the entire article is based on the premise that Google wants this "Enterprise" business.

they have quite a few other products that either manage to substantially offset their costs or give profits.

No, they really don't. 95+% of their revenues are generated by advertising. They make virtually NO money from any source that is not advertising. Go look at their financial statements.

Re:All of them. (4, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year ago | (#44049065)

And most things that they close are not as popular as some of the users believe they are.

That doesn't matter. Apart from the most major services, things often get shut down. That means that new google services are not trustworthy, and you have to expect them to go. If that's the case, why bother wasting time on using their infrastructure if you're moderately sure you'll have to end up rebuilding it yourself anyway.

You can't really force them to keep running losing products,

No one is forcing google to do anything, but they also cannot force people to use their products. If they have the reputation for new things not being a trustworthy provider (they do have that reputation) then they will not garner new users and will not get the associated revenue.

They also seme to love upgrades which improve shinyness but do little else (gmail, google docs^Wdrive, google maps, etc). It's their service and they're giving it away for free, but I need a very compelling case to buy any of the professional google services because of my experience of their free services.

Re:All of them. (1)

jkflying (2190798) | about a year ago | (#44047737)

As far as I'm aware, they haven't done that with any enterprise stuff. And as for monetizing things besides using ads, AppEngine much? CloudSQL? Cell-tower Geo-location services?

Google has no problem with paid apps when it is dealing with enterprise customers. It just seems that they'd rather not deal with extracting payments from personal consumers, letting their advertising customers do that for them.

Re:All of them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047755)

You should be aware of their dismissed Google Appliance

Re:All of them. (2)

Sollord (888521) | about a year ago | (#44047861)

Well save for the fact one can still buy the Google Search Appliance the only one they totaly stopped making was the limited and pointless MIni version. There was a small time frame it was unavailable as they got ready to launch the GSA7

Re:All of them. (2)

su5so10 (2542686) | about a year ago | (#44047965)

Google Appliance is still an active project. They are even hiring.

Re:All of them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047841)

Those examples brings in a round error level of revenue, i.e. nearly none.

Discontinue Unsuccessful Products (5, Informative)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44047751)

Except closing down projects

I have a bookshelf behind me with a whole host of dead languages, and products from Adobe and Microsoft that have been discontinued. Unsuccessful (and sometimes successful for strategic reasons) software will be discontinues, companies are trying to make money.

FYI Googles Enterprise Apps doesn't get Ads...maybe you are thinking of Windows 8.

Re:Discontinue Unsuccessful Products (4, Insightful)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year ago | (#44047857)

Well if you built your app with Visual Basic 6 then you're still supported. It has been discontinued, won't get new features. But it works, and will work for a while so that you have enough time to migrate to something newer such as Visual Basic .NET.

Re:Discontinue Unsuccessful Products (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44048003)

Well if you built your app with Visual Basic 6 then you're still supported. It has been discontinued, won't get new features.

But if you built your app around Plays for Sure then you're out of luck.

Re:Discontinue Unsuccessful Products (2)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | about a year ago | (#44048045)

If you call "that is a known bug" support, then you are right. Basic controls like radio buttons are not working on Windows XP. And they won't fix it.

Re:Discontinue Unsuccessful Products (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year ago | (#44048131)

I'm not familiar with VB6 or XP. I just heard the sound of relief when it was announced that the VB6 runtime would be supported in Windows 8; so apparently it works at least good enough.

Re:Discontinue Unsuccessful Products (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44048203)

FoxPro is EOL. Dead. Runtimes wouldn't install on Vista or above. No support. Nadda.

Microsoft killed FoxPro at 1,500,000 users. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about a year ago | (#44048813)

Someone at Microsoft told me that FoxPro had 1.5 million active users. The next year Microsoft killed FoxPro.

The story is worse than that. dBase was a dependable language with many suppliers. Microsoft introduced odd extensions to the language that caused Microsoft's version to be incompatible. People would use the extensions without realizing the social issues.

Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.

I don't know why Microsoft did that. Microsoft sometimes seems to want to act out abusiveness more than it wants to make money.

There could have been a conversion program that helped users migrate to another language.

Re:Discontinue Unsuccessful Products (1)

gaspyy (514539) | about a year ago | (#44047985)

What discontinued Adobe product are you talking about? It's a serious question.
They either transitioned the software (GoLive to Dreamweaver for example) or they still support it (Framemaker, Director).

I can't think of any of their products that was abruptly discontinued without an upgrade path or support for quite a long time.

Re:Discontinue Unsuccessful Products (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year ago | (#44048145)

I have some bad memories of old Persuasion files. I don't think there was an upgrade path for that as far as I know.

Re:Discontinue Unsuccessful Products (1)

gaspyy (514539) | about a year ago | (#44048985)

I stand corrected. Indeed it looks like the Persuasion was simply abandoned and none of their programs can read those files.

Large List for Adobe (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44048357)

Here is a list http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Macromedia_software [wikipedia.org] My personal favourite from Adobe Drumbeat which replaced by Dreamweaver UltraDev is wasn't Adobe bought it as it was a competitor and killed it off.

Re:All of them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047771)

There is no real reason why Google can't do all of these things

Except closing down projects that don't meet arbitrary internal goals without warning. Nobody is going to trust Google with enterprisey stuff, since they can't seem to hold focus long enough for people to actually build an infrastructure around their offerings. When the next new thing comes along, guess which balloon side project gets canned, for no reason, with no warning, leaving countless gimps clamoring for an alternative that is nowhere to be found.

They might be all about processing information, but they can't seem to actually monetize this beyond shoving ads in their users faces.

Unless you are new to IT or are being ignorant enough to question your competency, there's a strong chance (as in 100%) that Google will not merely close down "enterprisey stuff" when you are paying for support for said "enterprisey stuff"...

Re:All of them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047783)

There is no real reason why Google can't do all of these things

Except closing down projects that don't meet arbitrary internal goals without warning. Nobody is going to trust Google with enterprisey stuff, since they can't seem to hold focus long enough for people to actually build an infrastructure around their offerings.

I tend to agree with your assessment of Google's modus operandi. The word processor application of the GoogleDocs suite, for example, is pathetic both in terms of aestehtics and functionaity compared to WriteLaTeX. Sure Google sometimes has good ideas but their execution lacks severely., In my opinion, GoogleDocs should have been killed off years ago considering it's functionality remains primitive and the data mining aspect is worrisome in its own right.

Re:All of them. (2, Interesting)

Errtu76 (776778) | about a year ago | (#44047901)

Indeed. Take for example my startpage iGoogle, which is now going to be abandoned. And they have the nerve to shut it down with only 1.5 years prior warning. Bastards.

Re:All of them. (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | about a year ago | (#44048195)

What's worse than ending any particular product is mangling the Internet, like they did with the shutdown of Google Reader and with newsgroups.

Re:All of them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44048461)

and Google is the only company ever to discontinue software or a webpage...

Re:All of them. (1)

Mashdar (876825) | about a year ago | (#44048719)

I still miss GOOG-411 :( And AFAIK that just disappeared one day.

Re:All of them. (3, Funny)

flyneye (84093) | about a year ago | (#44047969)

Flip a coin, shut down a program and call the accountants to call it a loss on taxes. What's the problem here? Looks ordinary to me.
Next up, the Google inflatable mate w/ bucking mechanism and heater, it makes it's own pr0n movies and uploads them to Redtube while you pump away.
It collects customer data to recommend lube, toys or Viagra. It also has a government backdoor...

Re:All of them. (1)

Ash Vince (602485) | about a year ago | (#44048051)

Except closing down projects that don't meet arbitrary internal goals without warning.

Actually having a realistic number of users is not an arbitrary goal is it? They mostly seem to close down crap projects that nobody cared about.

Re:All of them. (1)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#44048075)

I don't know, 'enterprisey' companies pull the same stunts often enough.

Re:All of them. (4, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year ago | (#44047675)

Absolutely. There are historical precedents. Bell labs did things as diverse as writing Unix, inventing the transistor, and the construction of DNA machines [wikipedia.org] .

Re:All of them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047693)

As a frequent Google products user (mail, phone, tablet, maps...) I wonder how good is for us to depend on a single company for every service required in an urban life style: Mobile devices, computers, cars, network connections... Whats next, Google schools? All of these reminds me of scifi distopic societies.

Re:All of them. (1)

malkavian (9512) | about a year ago | (#44048191)

We don't actually depend on them though. In some places, they're creating new markets, which if they prove viable, will then have competition from other areas. In some places, they're simply competing against other companies for space in an existing market.
Now, if Google became mandated by the world's governmental organisation and granted eternal monopoly, I'd have a problem with it, but so far, I don't find much that they do (apart from the depth of the data gather) even remotely related to a dystopic world. Unless you include 'Brave New World', and that's not your usual dystopia.

Re:All of them. (2)

MrMickS (568778) | about a year ago | (#44048383)

As a frequent Google products user (mail, phone, tablet, maps...) I wonder how good is for us to depend on a single company for every service required in an urban life style: Mobile devices, computers, cars, network connections... Whats next, Google schools? All of these reminds me of scifi distopic societies.

Given what you use I wouldn't worry, you've already given in and been absorbed into the hive mind.

Seriously. If this was anyone but Google /. would be up in arms about the breadth of control and influence they have over people's lives. Sadly there is a blindness where Google is concerned on here as on many other technical sites. Google have too much influence now. Its about time people stopped and thought about it.

All of them - except Code Search? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047697)

The only real google information gathering application I used to use was the source code search - and they shut that down. WTF is with that?

Re:All of them. (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | about a year ago | (#44047769)

except they closed reader :(

Re:All of them. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047883)

Since Google is so open why don't you just download the source code for Reader and run your own instance?

Re:All of them. (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year ago | (#44048149)

Since Google is so open why don't you just download the source code for Reader and run your own instance?

Google is not open.

Re:All of them. (1, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year ago | (#44047821)

There is no real reason why Google can't do all of these things.

From the enterprise users POV, the problem isn't necessarily Google's ability to do these things. (Though that is a huge question mark.) It's trusting Google to do these things. Google's history is littered with half ass projects of one kind or another... Some cancelled half complete, other left lingering in limbo and half complete for years. Of the products that are more-or-less complete and functional, the vast majority of them languish for months between bizarre and incomprehensible "upgrades".
 
This history does not lead to confidence in the customer that they can build a business around Google's offerings.

Re:All of them. (1)

Ash Vince (602485) | about a year ago | (#44048081)

There is no real reason why Google can't do all of these things.

From the enterprise users POV, the problem isn't necessarily Google's ability to do these things. (Though that is a huge question mark.) It's trusting Google to do these things. Google's history is littered with half ass projects of one kind or another... Some cancelled half complete, other left lingering in limbo and half complete for years. Of the products that are more-or-less complete and functional, the vast majority of them languish for months between bizarre and incomprehensible "upgrades".

This history does not lead to confidence in the customer that they can build a business around Google's offerings.

Can you name one example of them doing this too an app thats was aimed at enterprise users? And please don't say Google Docs because in that case they just merged the same functionality (or very close to it) into Google Drive.

Re:All of them. (2)

fatrat (324232) | about a year ago | (#44048473)

Google Secure Data Connector. Totally an enterprise focused product. Never really supported (getting it to work involved reading the source code), now announced to be closed with no replacement (though with a suitably long 18 month lead time).

Re:All of them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047833)

Which version of Google's future should you believe?

False dichotomies like this are how we ended up with our current political stances and the idiots that preach them.

There is no real reason why Google can't do all of these things. Their core market is information. Gathering information. Processing information. Sorting and utilising information.

Once you're good at this, it isn't hard to expand into various uses for that information.

Well said, though I would also argue that there's also no reason a company can't do two totally unrelated things.

i want google to kill EDU (0, Offtopic)

cheekyboy (598084) | about a year ago | (#44047851)

There so much inefficiencies and ripoffs in the edu sector.

Create an AI bot, in 3d, that can teach people, and bingo, you have the same as Star Trek Computer on hand, in 3d + HAL.

Computer, teach me week 17 of Year 7.

But computers are better than humans and could teach years 1 to 12, in 5 years. The k12 sector is so slow and communist in style it would cause millions to be unemployed if google just used 100 engineers to make the EDU killer.

Re:All of them. (1)

mcvos (645701) | about a year ago | (#44048575)

Their core market is advertising. They need information to know what kind of advertisements are most relevant for you.

Basically they want two things:
* More information on what people are looking for or interested in,
* More people using internet, looking for stuff they're interested in.

So their investment in internet infrastructure (fiber, balloons) is more making more people use the internet more. Android same thing. Everything else is for figuring out what you're interested in so they can show you advertisements you're likely to click on.

Re:All of them. (1)

xelah (176252) | about a year ago | (#44048681)

It does come with problems, though. Consider what happens if Google's car research pushes out publicly funded (and published) research and ties the field up in IP claims and secrecy. Aside from hindering research, this builds a potential future monopoly for something very important - not to mention the risks of Google tracking the journeys made and stuffing cars full of advertising.

Tech. co's often fail because of social issues. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about a year ago | (#44048923)

"There is no real reason why Google can't do all of these things."

Google is not attending to the social issues inside the company, in my opinion. We study the sociology of technology companies intensely because we have found that they often fail because of social issues.

Here is a short list: Fairchild Semiconductor, Hewlett-Packard (HP), and Tektronix. At one time they were the best in their fields.

HP began failing long before most people noticed. Products were released and sold that weren't finished even before 1973.

See our web site for more examples.

Uhhhh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047657)

As a user of Google apps for a Small NON-enterprise company... Google's solutions where a joke until a few years ago... now I wish they had this solution to start with! I LOVE IT!

For a company that knows nearly everything? (1, Interesting)

mitcheli (894743) | about a year ago | (#44047701)

World domineering overlord.

Google is just like Microsoft. (4, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year ago | (#44047723)

Google's and Microsoft's behavious are very similar.

Google makes heaps of money with their search engine and advertising business; MS makes heaps of money with their Windows and Office products.

Both are extending into all kinds of related and not so related ventures.

Only difference there is that MS tends to go for already established business (XBox gaming console, Bing search engine, Zune music player) while Google is searching for new opportunities (networking with balloons and dark fibre; advanced automation with self driving cars, etc).

the basics are the same: make a lot of money in one product, use those massive profits to extend into other businesses, or simply to have some fun (not all of Google's experiments seem all to serious from a pure commercial pov).

Re:Google is just like Microsoft. (1, Insightful)

binarylarry (1338699) | about a year ago | (#44047745)

Google's projects are vastly, vastly Open Source though.

Microsoft considers Open Source literally "cancer."

Re:Google is just like Microsoft. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047807)

Go easy on the poor word "literally". What you've said there is that something is literally figurative, which is kind of odd.

Re:Google is just like Microsoft. (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047845)

No, MS considers copyleft to be like a cancer. And many people seem to agree, which is precisely why you see so many businesses who won't touch GPL software with a 10 foot pole.

Also, Google only cares about open sourcing a product if it can be used to shuttle you to their proprietary products. Android and Chrome are open so that they can shuttle more people to proprietary Google Docs, proprietary Search, proprietary Google+, etc.

Google wants you to rely on the cloud, which is vastly worse for consumer freedom than Microsoft's traditional focus on local computing.

You need to get over your biases and open your eyes.

Re:Google is just like Microsoft. (4, Insightful)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year ago | (#44047869)

Google's projects are seldom open source. You can't get the source code for most of their services. Many open source projects that they run is developed in the dark behind closed doors, lika Android; technically open source, but not in spirit.

Google is a very very closed company.

Google is just like Microsoft in your dreams. (4, Insightful)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44047775)

Google's and Microsoft's behavious are very similar.

Not even close. Microsoft is the same lumbering bullying monopolist it always was(although now looking stupid in todays mobile market), and Google acts like fresh young startup(although now with lots of baggage).

Other than them both being mega corporations, they have very little in common. This could be a whole topic in itself.

Re:Google is just like Microsoft in your dreams. (2)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | about a year ago | (#44048057)

Err, no. Microsoft is a megacorp that just tries to take over anything IT-related. Google is a megacorp that tries to take over anything IT-related. Not much of a difference.

this is literally the most idiotic bullshit (1, Troll)

mapkinase (958129) | about a year ago | (#44047727)

this is literally the most idiotic bullshit I have seen recently on reddit. Good job, Soulskill

Re:this is literally the most idiotic bullshit (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047777)

Yes, utter crap.

Google are acting more like venture capital, trying many things in the hope one in ten might strike it really big. Whoever wrote this is an idiot.

Re:this is literally the most idiotic bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44048229)

It looks like the Google employee and intern mods have arrived to provide the necessary corrections to opinion on this site.

payouts come later (5, Insightful)

flowerp (512865) | about a year ago | (#44047733)

Look at what they did with Android. Seemed like a crazy project at first, but now they're essentially owning the market for mobile operating systems.

So let them do their unfocused things, because some of them will pay out big later.

Re:payouts come later (3, Insightful)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about a year ago | (#44047773)

Or look at Amazon doing other things than selling books.

You don't want to put all your eggs in one or two baskets when you're operating in an industry where most everything changes completely in a decade. In fact, it might make sense from a risk perspective to enter into industries with slower rate of innovation and change like automotive, energy, etc.

Re:payouts come later (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year ago | (#44047891)

Amazon is a company that relies on two core businesses, and doesn't seem to expand much beyond that.

The first is being an online retailer. Started with books, added a host of other products - yet essentially it's still the same kind of business. Whether you sell books or CDs or furniture or houshold electronics or whatever doesn't matter very much - the products look different but the process is the same.

The second is their cloud computing business. They have numerous offerings there, from dedicated servers to computing power for hire to various cloud storage services - however in essence it is the same kind of business, and their various offerings often rely on one another. And of course their cloud computing business is a great support for the online retail business, which also needs a lot of computing power and networking.

Outside those two businesses, I don't know what Amazon is doing. They seem to be pretty much limited to those two pillars.

Re:payouts come later (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047961)

The cloud computing business is purely a side business. The only reason they are in it at all is to monetize their infrastructure needs. Ever wonder why in the early years of EC2 is always slowed down at Christmas time? The infrastructure they were renting out was the excess capacity they need to add every Christmas season to meet demand. They started renting it out and then Christmas time came and they needed it all back, leaving EC2 customers in the lurch. They eventually grew it to the point where it is able to survive without affecting customers, but it is still simply renting excess capacity they don't need. I doubt it could survive without the retail sales business.

Re:payouts come later (2, Interesting)

whisper_jeff (680366) | about a year ago | (#44047939)

How is that modded insightful?

I don't think anyone with a hint of awareness thought that Android sounded like a crazy project when they announced it. I think everyone who had a clue recognized it as a bold move into a new market that would make a big difference. And, lo and behold, it was.

Also, quite frankly, I find it amusing when people describe Android as "owning the market for mobile operating systems" because it's a narrowly defined definition of "owning the market".

Are they owning marketshare for the larger mobile market? Yes.

Smartphones (no, not feature phones disguised as smartphones - I'm talking actual smartphones)? That's debatable and hard to accurately measure (since so many Android manufacturers sell "smartphones" that are really feature phones running a smartphone OS). Entirely likely this one is pretty much a draw.

Tablets? Not at all. Getting crushed.

Are they owning the market dollars for the mobile market? Nope. That's iOS's crown. And, for many, this is what "owning the market" might mean which makes your claim incorrect.

The mobile market is actually quite complex with various facets and layers and "owning the market" is a claim that no operating system (well, neither Android nor iOS - the others don't matter any more) can make. You have to be much more specific in what you're talking about before you can say anything is being owned. Otherwise it's simply too vague a claim to be taken seriously.

But, back to the original point - I think the only people who thought Google was crazy for creating Android were blog writers looking to generate page views and controversy. Anyone with a clue saw it as anything but crazy.

Re:payouts come later (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44048179)

Seemed like a crazy project at first

Copying the iPhone seemed crazy? To whom?

they're essentially owning the market for mobile operating systems

Depends what you mean by "owning" and "the market". Revenue share is still massively loaded towards iOS, although in terms of raw number of installations Android has more, simply by virtue of being a commodity item.

Although I agree with your conclusions regarding Google anyway :)

Google Docs (1)

Kefeus (722757) | about a year ago | (#44047743)

I just wish, that they would put more functions in Google Docs :)

Re:Google Docs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047827)

They probably scanned all the word documents in the world and found the 10% of functions people use and implemented those only.

Is this post just FUD? (0)

kurt555gs (309278) | about a year ago | (#44047757)

Did Microsoft write this? Is M$ trying to use underhanded advertising to say hey still have some relevance? Why did Slashdot even post this?

Good someone's spending money on innovation (5, Interesting)

monzie (729782) | about a year ago | (#44047799)

Disclaimer: Not an MBA, never attended even a Biz 101. Just your average geek

I think we are talking about two distinct things here:

1. A company which makes a lot of money selling ads on the 'standard' web and the mobile web

2. A company that is trying to carve a space in the 'enterprise' space ( Google apps, docs etc )

3. A company that is spending a lot of money on innovation - most of which looks to help the general public ( Specifically mean their attempts at networking ) and some which look like sci-fi projects ( Google glass)

#1 - It's how they earn their $$ and I ( like most of you ) use their search engine and email offerings. A lot of us use their mobile operating system as well - and we take for granted that it keeps our contacts and calendars and other stuff in sync. ( side note: not many , especially the Apple fanbois - appreciate how good google email/calendar/contacts sync is )

#2 My previous and current employer use Google Apps. My previous company migrated from Domino/Notes (gasp!) to Google Apps and my current company moved from Exchange/Sharepoint/Outlook to Google Apps. As an end user it made my life much better. However, I am sure the CIO who took the decision for the move had evaluated other factors as well ( Cost of migration, cost of maintaing , integration with exisiting directory services etc )

#3 - Now let's assume they make a ton of money with #1 and #2 ( in reality they're making money primarily with #1, but bear with me) and they spend their money on Gigabit Ethernet and self driving cars. What's so wrong with that? How does spending money on Gigabit ethernet make their Google Apps or Google Search team any smarter/dumber? Answer: It doesn't.

I do not work for Google and Google doesn't need my defence.

I just think this article and post is pointless. This is a question a shareholder may ask. As an end user I"m happy with their offerings for personal and professional work and even they work on a new variant of the NCC-1701* - It wouldn't matter to me or to my CIO as long as what they offer us is better than the competition. As of now, they are.

* = If you do not know what NCC-1701 (and it's variants are) Google it (pun intended) before you reply

Re:Good someone's spending money on innovation (1)

Sollord (888521) | about a year ago | (#44047871)

Half the problem these days directly relate to the MBA degrees infact I'd say workplace negativity directly tracks the increase in the number of MBA holders

Re:Good someone's spending money on innovation (1, Troll)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year ago | (#44047889)

Are you sure you are not an MBA? You stated that there were two main items and listed three. Sounds like funny MBS math to me. (Lets just slip this in there, no one will notice) .

Re:Good someone's spending money on innovation (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year ago | (#44047911)

Agreed, I can't say I have the feeling they lost their focus. When it comes to their core products (Search, Maps) they're still miles ahead of the competition. And for the rest they offer a very decent offering (Gmail, Docs, Google+, Android, etc). Not much better or worse than the competition there, they still manage to stay at the top.

Can't say that of Microsoft - falling behind with Windows (they still have the critical mass though), IE caught napping by FF and Chrome, totally lost the mobile market, and the rest of their products are generally faltering and also-runs at best. Office is arguably the best in it's league but the competition is catching up quickly, with "more than good enough for the home user" type products. Not much room for innovation in Office too.

Re:Good someone's spending money on innovation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047919)

Yep. We need somebody in this country to do R&D type stuff because a lot of other companies have given up on it. Besides it's also good to see a company that actually does something with it's money because that's actually a lot more useful to the local economy than just sitting on it and trying to maximize productivity or profit value or whatever. (Seems the world forgot that when companies do stuff like this, then its employees usually end up having money, and when they have it - they tend to spend that money. It really does more for more people than stock holders that will just sit on it or trade it back and forth for some other stock that doesn't really do anything for anyone other than themselves.)

We should count ourselves lucky (2)

joh (27088) | about a year ago | (#44047925)

If Google REALLY would try to do what it could do in some fields instead of rather helplessly fumbling around often enough, it could very soon get into a dominating position that wouldn't be good for anyone.

I think people underestimate the extremely central point in which Google has comfortably positioned itself. We should be happy about every lackluster move Google does. And of course it is reigned in by being an advertisement business which means that it doesn't really care about anything that isn't connected to selling more ads. This explains a lot of the half-heartedness it displays in many things. It's just not worth the effort to destroy other businesses if you can't make money out of it.

Google has a problem. (3, Insightful)

pla (258480) | about a year ago | (#44047931)

Google exists primarily as a playground for two (actually much, much more, now) geeks. They want to do things like build driverless cars and have robot cats and sharks with frickin' laser beams.

Unfortunately, Google accidentally became too successful, and would have needed to start filing SEC disclosures even if they hadn't gone public. So hey, free money.

Now, Google has a problem, not unlike that of John Rigas or Dennis Kozlowski (minus the criminal aspect of it, of course) - Brin and Page both see Google as their private playground, but have to pretend they give the least damn about their shareholders... Thus, the whole reason they brought on Eric Schmidt early on, to do all that boring BS business-stuff while they play with online weather balloons.

But make no mistake, evil or no, Google exists as a high-tech playground, not a serious business. The fact that they make oodles of money should serve as a role-model to other companies who haven't come to grips with the fact that "knowledge" workers do their best when not forced to sit in a 6x6 box for exactly eight hours a day using only "approved" apps and hardware.

Re:Google has a problem. (3, Interesting)

su5so10 (2542686) | about a year ago | (#44047993)

In the OLD days (e.g. up through the early 1990s), MOST successful tech companies had research labs doing far out things. AT&T, Xerox, DEC, IBM... I think the fact that today, few companies have such a research arm, is the real problem.

Re:Google has a problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049083)

With the exception of IBM, most of the old big research research branches of traditional tech megacorps are a shadow of their former selves.

But Google X, Microsoft Research, and to a certain degree companies like Intel, Cisco, and Apple are picking up the slack as the HPs & Kodaks of the world die off.

Not all the slack, mind you, but they're certainly still bearing the torch well.

Re:Google has a problem. (1)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | about a year ago | (#44048015)

I don't see how Google can lose, in light of how MS seems to be hell-bent on killing itself with the atrocious Windows H8. What Google's doing is actually innovating. Yeah, it's a playground for a couple of geek billionaires. I don't see that as a bad thing at all. You can argue persuasively that the company has jumped the shark and is no longer "doing no evil," but they're investing big bucks into pure research. Once in a while they come up with the (tm)Next Big Thing, like Android, and they make a killing. Meanwhile, Ballmer throws chairs and tries to *copy* Android smartphones even on the Windows desktop.

Inefficiency undermining success (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047957)

Google does not have to pick a fight and win, that should be obvious by all of the 'next big things' google has tried and failed at. Just because they have been successful at search/ads does not mean that the formula translates into any other field or vertical. The longer google stays successful with search the more mired they will become in the corporate mindset and I think they know/fear this. In the meantime they have the success of search driving a corporate engine but the spirit of a university research lab as a backdrop. Those two do not mesh well. As long as search/advertising is paying the bills and it remains a lot of money, the spirit of research will be given enough teeth to allow all of these projects to run in parallel. Corporate thinking will force them to act like they are committed to each one and the message delivered (advertising/PR) will sound that way (remember Wave?). But the reality is that they have failed miserably to differentiate and/or properly productize what they create in the spirit of research. In this I think Google overvalues the researcher and undervalues product management. Good ideas left hanging in the wind. Bad ideas that could have been cut off much sooner. A serious lack of innovation in anything but search and even that is falling apart as the corporate mindset kicks into high gear. I applaud google for the spirit they show in funding all of these different areas but they really badly need some new core vision, focus, and leadership at the product level. Until that happens however they can afford to be inefficient, and it really doesn't matter. Its just too bad that all of that money isn't focused on really making a difference.

To answer the OP question. Google can afford to be 'serious' about any market they enter. You as a consumer cannot know whether they are serious or not until they decide to cut off the effort. IOW, if it is not core to Google thinking it will always be at risk and you will never know until the end. The one thing that I think might make them serious about enterprise is that the 'consumer as product' mentality that drives the business of search (you do realize that you are the product right?) extends pretty seamlessly over to Enterprise. The question is, will ENTERPRISE as a market (caps on purpose) really put up with that mentality, will they trust google in the long run? Those big companies are smart, and they are always looking for 'the catch' in anything that sounds too good to be true. This will force Google to start thinking/acting like Microsoft who is the benchmark (love/hate it doesn't matter) of corporate solutions. Big companies will use Google as a threat to MS but at the end of the day the big corporations need a partner that thinks like they do or at minimum is no threat to them at the revenue and ego level and that puts Google's effort at risk because it forces them to change their business model. DNA in a company is a hard thing to change and for Google this is going to be a tough battle. Are they serious about Enterprise... about as serious as google can get, can you trust them no matter how serious they are is the question.

All your eggs in one basket (0, Flamebait)

PanAmaX (1102857) | about a year ago | (#44047973)

What a truly stupid post.

Enterprise Google Services are a paid service which has awesome support (the free ad driven versions do not) and as such come with a level of availability.. if they are going do discontinue a service that is truly an enterprise service they offer an export of your data so that you can migrate to another service.

Far reaching projects with one eye on the future which are truly pioneering and revolutionary are best developed with the full expectation that they might fail. Failure is the risk of any ambitious project.. managing that risk by diversifying your future direction based on expanding into areas where your current strengths lie is just sensible! to put all your eggs in one basket with the knowledge that your one idea could fail is a sure fire way to become extinct and also to go out of business.

These two things are completely unrelated. Their current offerings of enterprise services is a separate part of their business to their horizon projects.

Useful Products (0)

The Cat (19816) | about a year ago | (#44047989)

Microsoft built four good, useful products that make money: Windows 1900, Visual Basic, Office and DirectX.

Google built two good useful products that make money: Adwords and Android.

Microsoft has given up on the PC, which is what all their products depend on. Therefore they will lose their revenue and be a shadow of their former stature.

Google has given up on the Web, which is what all their products depend on. Therefore they will lose their revenue and be a shadow of their former stature.

Re:Useful Products (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44048071)

How has google given up on the web?

Side projects? Not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44048005)

All of the projects listed can be tied to Google core business of providing eyeballs to advertiser.

Honestly Google should become a celluar carrier and just give away phones.

To attract talent (1)

ByTor-2112 (313205) | about a year ago | (#44048031)

What better way to attract the best nerds than high altitude wi-fi balloons? All those crazy projects attract people who want to feel their career won't be confined.

Lack of focus.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44048047)

Or their focus is so high... we cannot see the big picture.
"You see the corpses you see the smoke... the big picture still eludes you..." - The Law Abiding citizen.

Re:Lack of focus.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44048063)

Cars... controled by air baloon network with full google earth topography.
Humans with glasses interacting with air ballons network with full google earth topography ...No place to Run... to place to Hide...we will google the living shit out of you.

GOOGLE: If we cant find it.... IT DOESNT EXIST!

Google (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44048065)

Google is in the enviable position of having most search traffic coming to them. Search is a lot of what people do on the internet. If people's use of the internet increases, so will their use of search and that increases Google's bottom line. Search is wildly lucrative, so Google is in the amazing position that it actually makes sense for them to pay for projects that do not return any profit but that will increase people's use of the internet and thus make more people use Google search. Some of that innovation then might even pay on its own too. A lot of what Google does, like building out broadband or sending up balloons, in fact supports their search business, you just have to think about it for a bit to realize it. When the internet gets better, Google profits.

Still an advertising company (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44048089)

Each of these projects can somehow be turned into a direct or indirect advertising platform.

Like John Sculley's Apple in the early '90s (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44048095)

There are many contenders for the New New Thing, and the company seems determined to bet on every horse. One difference is that Sculley, a consumer marketing executive, was trying to prove to the world that he was a visionary leader in the technology field. The Google twins don't have to do that.

Old joke:
Q. What's the difference between Apple Computer and the Boy Scouts?
A. The Boy Scouts have adult supervision.

Irrelevant (4, Insightful)

Tridus (79566) | about a year ago | (#44048097)

The only relevant things about Google's enterprise performance should be how seriously they treat those offerings. That they're playing around with driverless cars on the side really doesn't matter in the slightest.

If it does, then obviously people should be equally concerned that Microsoft is more focused on trying to sell phones and Xboxes than it is on what their enterprise customers are actually using (since they're sure as hell not using Windows 8).

Re:Irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44048597)

The only relevant things about Google's enterprise performance should be how seriously they treat those offerings. That they're playing around with driverless cars on the side really doesn't matter in the slightest.

If it does, then obviously people should be equally concerned that Microsoft is more focused on trying to sell phones and Xboxes than it is on what their enterprise customers are actually using (since they're sure as hell not using Windows 8).

I agree with your first point. On the second - many enterprise customers are just now moving off XP to Windows 7. Microsoft knows these cycles well, and I suspect they have no unrealistic expectations or issues with regards to Windows 8 adoption i enterprise - and it has no revenue effect as these customers are on enterprise agreements.

Google should put more effort into *quality* (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44048193)

enterprise products, and services.

Google Apps hardly work well enough for a hobbyist, let alone an enterprise. There are serious bugs that have existed for years, Google chooses to ignore them. Google does offer any real support.

And yes, Google's habit of constantly closing down products, and services, even those which are successful, does not sit well with enterprise customers.

Google makes about 97% of it's revenue on advertising. Everything else is just some silly little back-burner project that Google employees are supposed to do in their spare time.

Seems to me that is Google is going to compete with a juggernaut, like Microsoft, Google needs to take it's products, and services, seriously.

All these activities are still related (1)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | about a year ago | (#44048243)

They are all about gathering user activities data to provide more target advertising. The more your stuff are being used by consumers in their life, the better you can profile and predict their future behavior.

If Google start getting into, let say, food, oil or pharmaceutical business, then you can start complaining about them being a conglomerate.

Not mutually exclusive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44048329)

Google can pursue more than one project at a time. All deal with data and software engineering. Why does the OP think Google's future must be one or the other?

Wait... (1)

nbritton (823086) | about a year ago | (#44048419)

Wait... why does Google want to compete with Microsoft? Last I knew they were in different market spaces. Sure theirs Bing and web apps, but isn't that about it? I think Google's doing just fine, a little diversification never hurt anyone.

Improve Search (1)

amanaplanacanalpanam (685672) | about a year ago | (#44048509)

I wouldn't mind if Google focused at least some effort on improving search, such as
  • - make domain clustering optional (like it used to be: initially present all results within a given domain as "one" result, with a breakout link to show all results from just that domain; maybe display PageRank (*gasp*) to indicate that there are multiple "authoritative/popular" pages within a given domain);
  • - add more powerful advanced search options. Something like "search for 'X', but don't count instances of X that are part of the phrase 'X Y'." For example I want to search for word X, but I'm not interested in instances of unrelated phrase "X Y", however some pages that contain "X Y" might also have some relevant info regarding "X", so I would want to see those pages, but only ranked highly if "X" is prevalent in the page, not "X Y". As far as I'm aware Google currently offers no way to do this.

Friendly Neighbourhood Conspiracy Theorist here... (1)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | about a year ago | (#44048939)

...wondering if perhaps Google has simply become a master of advertising and marketing in its own right, rather than being just the middleman. All of these projects make Google seem cool and geek-friendly, and keep Google brand front-and-centre in a mostly positive light. With all of their slick-new-project churn they simply look less moribund and uncool than either Microsoft or Apple, even as they're becoming a more staid and conservative company. And with their seemingly limitless supply of dollars, the cost of these projects is probably chump change to them.

It's also possible that they've chosen to 'throw a bunch of stuff at the wall and see what sticks'. There's something to be said for the experimental approach to learning what large numbers of people will pay for, and Google has always struck me as being much stronger strategically than tactically.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>