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Google Winning By Losing?

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the brilliant-if-deliberate dept.

226

eldavojohn writes "The CEO of a small search company wrote an interesting piece for Search Insider about Google's unique strategy. It notes that Google has yet to become a leader in any technology other than search — but that its mostly unsuccessful attempts to branch out all end up bolstering its brand, and thus its search ad revenue. Is the new recipe for success to do one thing unbelievably well and several other things indifferently? Does this remind you of strategies from any other companies?" From the article, "Some of Google's non-search projects are really extensions of its search monetization, and are likely to succeed. But others projects mean entering areas where Google doesn't have much experience, and is taking a risk. With regard to those riskier areas, the key question for Google's future is whether it can realize that losing is really one of the best assets the company has."

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226 comments

YOU ARE STILL A BUNCH OF KNOW-NOTHING FAGGOTS (0, Troll)

CmdrTaco (troll) (578383) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669857)

So keep sucking googles electronic cock. And see what it gets you.

Re:YOU ARE STILL A BUNCH OF KNOW-NOTHING FAGGOTS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16670879)

A trip to Iraq?

Ok and .... (3, Insightful)

gomaze (105798) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669863)

This goes right along with the saying that "Any news is good news". As long has the Google name keeps getting spread around and people keep talking about the new things they are doing, this will drive viewers it its different pages and products.

Re:Ok and .... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16669919)

Yes, we all have to google sometimes, and in that case, google is right there to help us.

We also have to send internets sometimes, altho, it may take a few days, and google helps us, with gmail.

However, google has yet to help me with porn viewing. It needs to make a slideshow of all the porn i want, then, i shall send google a internet thru the express tubes saying how loyal i am to their brand.

Re:Ok and .... (2, Informative)

bruciemoose (319876) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670281)

You obviously haven't discovered the advanced options for Google Images...

Send me an 'internets' sometime!

Long Tale? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16670893)

Interesting real world example of "The Long Tale" effect?

Search, Gmail, Google Earth, Picasa ... (2, Interesting)

linuxguy (98493) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669867)


Search, Gmail, Google Earth, Google Maps, Picasa ...

Google has several interesting and best of breed web based applications. Not all of their products are going to be the best at what they do. This should hardly be news to anybody.

Re:Search, Gmail, Google Earth, Picasa ... (0, Flamebait)

wargolem (715873) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669897)

Even George W. Bush uses Internets to look at the Google Maps! It's number ones, baby!

I am still waiting for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16669875)

Google pr0n search!

Re:I am still waiting for (1)

mqduck (232646) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669915)

Google pr0n search!

Actually, it's a known fact that the #1 thing that gets people to switch to Google for web searching is when they see the accurate and impressive results of their first Google pr0n search.

Google "pr0n search" (2, Informative)

supersat (639745) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670053)

Actually, what you want has already been done, to a certain extent. Enter Monzy's "Unsafe Search [monzy.org] ".

It works by submitting your query to Google twice: once as a regular query, and once with Google's "SafeSearch" enabled. It then subtracts all of the "SafeSearch" results from the regular query, leaving you with only the hits that Google deems "unsafe." Brilliant!

Indifferently? (4, Insightful)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669893)

Is the new recipe for success to do one thing unbelievably well and several other things indifferently?
Indifferently? I hardly call Google Maps, GMail, Sketch-Up, or Google Earth doing things indifferently. They're all better than average applications, IMO, and certainly Maps and GMail have sparked major changes in competitor's products. Just because they're not dominating market share doesn't mean they're not doing well.

Re:Indifferently? (1)

neo67 (1021111) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669963)

I have to agree with some of the items above but it does seem that google will the same downfall as many in the past Dot Com days. Its doing well but for how long just as yahoo was the brand name of its time so is google. So for those who own the stock cash now not later. Now here is another one Microsoft it too was the giant now its hold own by strings. Nothing last forever.

Re:Indifferently? (2, Insightful)

Schemat1c (464768) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670209)

I have to agree with some of the items above but it does seem that google will the same downfall as many in the past Dot Com days. Its doing well but for how long just as yahoo was the brand name of its time so is google. So for those who own the stock cash now not later. Now here is another one Microsoft it too was the giant now its hold own by strings. Nothing last forever.

Bah, Yahoo was nothing but an ad infested portal. The only Yahoo app I continued using after 1998 was Yahoo groups. Google is my home page, email, calendar and map application. They all work very well for me and I don't see google going anywhere soon. Your post is nothing but kneejerk FUD.

Re:Indifferently? (2, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670765)

The net has demostrated a capacity to create and destroy companies upon a regular basis. Best search engine was Alta Vista, then Yahoo, then Google, then ?. Search is a core net activity, it keeps people coming back to your site.

Do it well and don't try to drive too much revenue and they will keep coming back. The aim of good search engine site will be simply to keep users returning and making use of the other more profitable areas of content portal web sites.

Re:Indifferently? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16670155)

Wait, several other things? I thought Google just served ads and everything was in support of serving ads.

Re:Indifferently? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16670201)

Do Sketch-Up or Google Earth have many ads in them?

Re:Indifferently? (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670437)

I'd imagine Google Maps at least is a dominating market share.

Yahoo Maps Beta DESTROYS google maps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16670505)

http://maps.yahoo.com/beta [yahoo.com]

Try it. It is faster and has some amazing features that just trounce google maps into the ground.

Re:Yahoo Maps Beta DESTROYS google maps (1)

Richard W.M. Jones (591125) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670857)

[Yahoo maps beta]

It requires Flash, which isn't available on my computer (Linux/AMD64 - and don't tell me I must cripple my web browser just to view a map please).

Complete non-starter.

Rich.

Re:Indifferently? (1)

famebait (450028) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670533)

AOL. And if someone sees a more usable online calendar than Google's, let me know. Sure, they have a few duds too (Google talk isn't going to take over the world anytime soon), but generalizing like that is really unwarranted. I'm as worried about Google's extensive knowledge of its users as the next guy, but they really do have a knack for buying out the best-of-class web apps in the ease-of-use for common tasks end of the market (rather than complex, professional functionality), and even developing a couple themselves as well.

Re:Indifferently? (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670697)

They're all better than average applications, IMO, and certainly Maps and GMail have sparked major changes in competitor's products.

Do you know GMail is still "beta"....!?

Re:Indifferently? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670839)

Sketch-Up is made by a different company, not Google.

Re:Indifferently? (1)

Richard W.M. Jones (591125) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670871)

GMail was a brilliant play by Google. They restricted it so that they had relatively few users, but gave them all 2 GB which made headlines. Microsoft et al rushed to react, but of course Hotmail has hundreds of millions of users and giving them all 2 GB must have scared the hell out of Microsoft. In the end Microsoft still seems to be scrambling to update Hotmail accounts.

Rich.

Of course! (2, Funny)

aerthling (796790) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669895)

I'm working off the same principle by intentionally failing my degree.

It's just diversification. (1)

Ythan (525808) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669903)

Does this remind you of strategies from any other companies?

Yahoo [yahoo.com] for one.

Re:It's just diversification. (1)

EMC_CJ (1016111) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670125)

What is it that Yahoo does "unbelievably well"? Being a portal? Writing pithy commercials?

Re:It's just diversification. (1)

jaavaaguru (261551) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670417)

Microsoft, with their IntelliMouse.

Looking for strategy where there is none.. (5, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669905)

Most companies have some MBA types sitting at the top working out how "the street" is going to respond to their every action and pushing that advice down the tree to tell developers what to do. As such, analysts (like this guy) are always trying to figure out what these MBA types are thinking, and why they are doing certain actions. This isn't how Google works. The developers are basically set free to do whatever the hell they want and they get rewarded when the company does well from it. Is it any surprise to find that the analysts are confused by Google?

Re:Looking for strategy where there is none.. (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669929)

Amen to that brotha

Why the obsession with winning? (4, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670009)

Yah goota be number one or you're nothing? This leads to competition focus rather than customer focus which is ultimately a short-term strategy.

Sure, being number one goes back to primeval days. However, various research has shown that while the alpha male chimpanzees slug it out, the next guy down is getting more sex.....

Perhaps Google are just not stupid enough to be pouring their energy into alpha-male business tactics.

Re:Why the obsession with winning? (2, Insightful)

kjart (941720) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670195)

Yah goota be number one or you're nothing?

I don't know what you're smoking but that's even more true in Google's business than in many others. If they lose the edge in search and someone does it better people will start migrating. Brand loyalty is one thing, but who would continue to use Google if there were (significantly) better competitors? Being number 1 is the only option Google really has.

Re:Why the obsession with winning? (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670359)

Nah. You don't get it. The people buying shares in companies are looking for growth. If there's no growth, they make no profit. So how do you maintain consistent growth? It's not enough to keep your current customers happy, you have to get more customers, and to do that you have to play silly games like aquiring other companies and running advertising compaigns and blah blah blah. If you don't do all that crap people will sell their shares.. they can't afford to hold onto shares that are not increasing in value as fast as other shares, and without their money, you don't have a company.

Re:Why the obsession with winning? (4, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670861)

Nah. You don't get it. The people buying shares in companies are looking for growth. If there's no growth, they make no profit

No, you don't seem to understand. A company does not have to grow to be profitable on the stock market. They just have to make a profit. And, the people buying shares look for many different qualities, it's called diversification. Along with a potential growth stock, many willalso buy a mature company that isn't growing but pays dividends, to balance out the portfolio.

Re:Why the obsession with winning? (1)

Tom (822) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670449)

Excellent point, and so true. My company will soon be #2 in our local market, and for all I care, #2 is way more comfortable than #1. Among other things, #1 has to deal with a lot of regulation and anti-trust issues.

Re:Why the obsession with winning? (1)

briancnorton (586947) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670637)

Kill or be killed is the law of capitalism. If you're #1 you make more money (and probably have more sex too) and making money is the ultimate end goal here. It's not a penis size contest, it's survival of the fittest.

Re:Why the obsession with winning? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670873)

If you're #1 you make more money

The number 1 company in market-share is not always the most profitable.

Re:Looking for strategy where there is none.. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16670049)

There's a name for this, at least in games like chess: an inexperienced or an intentionally wild (or just very _different_ in some way) player can sometimes do very well against a very, very good player because the better player is trained to make his choices based on the other player making the most intelligent choices possible.

Re:Looking for strategy where there is none.. (0)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670063)

There's a name for this, at least in games like chess: an inexperienced or an intentionally wild (or just very _different_ in some way) player can sometimes do very well against a very, very good player because the better player is trained to make his choices based on the other player making the most intelligent choices possible.

That is the plot of every damned Scooby Doo and Get Smart episode.
 

Re:Looking for strategy where there is none.. (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670931)

Gates sits in the background, only the lower half of his face visible beneath the shadow of his hood.
Ballmer, in black plastic armor, cape, and phallic helmet, stands behind a chair.
Across the room stand Brin and Page.
Ballmer: <schooop-hah>"And we would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for you meddling kids."<schooop-hah>
Brin:"Please don't throw the chair at us, Mr. Ballmer".
Ballmer: <schooop-hah>"You know I don't do cliches."<schooop-hah>

Except it rarely works that way (3, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670225)

Except it rarely works that way. I have some experience with both chess and Go, and have been the inexperienced player in that scenario more than once. I've yet to see even one single instance where it works like that from beginning to end.

The inexperienced player may pull one or two surprisingly good maneuvers out of sheer dumb luck, maybe even gain a temporary advantage out of those. But in the long run he'll fail to use and consolidate that advantage and the more experienced player will _bury_ him.

The chance to win a match by sheer dumb clueless doing something random that the other isn't expected is negligible because it just needs too many moves in a row where that happens. If the chance to make a surprisingly good and unexpected move is, say, 1 in 1000 (remember, it has to be not just good, but also some radical new strategy that noone tried before and the good player isn't expecting), then the chance to make two in a row is 1 in 1,000,000. And the chance to make 4 in a row is 1 in 1,000,000,000,000. Keeping up like that for a whole game is just not going to happen.

Plus, good players are good because they can adapt and use logic to different situations. He's not going to just give up and run in circles for the next half an hour just because you did one different move. He'll keep reacting and probing and you only need to get out of that lucky streak once or twice for him to fully use it against you.

Basically "beginner's luck" is a myth. It's a crap excuse by people who aren't as good as they think, to not admit that they played badly. Or that maybe they let you win. But if they didn't, then that supposed beginner actually played pretty damn well.

And if Google's secret sauce is "beginner's luck", then maybe all it says is that the big "experienced" players are the ones playing badly in that space. Maybe it's not Google who's clueless there.

Re:Looking for strategy where there is none.. (1)

nmk (781777) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670799)

So I suppose its the programmers that are censoring sentitive content in China then.

Give them time (4, Insightful)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669907)

My experience of Google's non-search applications so far suggests that they are far from mediocre. It's inevitable that it will take them longer to really come to the fore in fields which are more mature that the search engine market was when they first rose to prominence.

In addition, they have an excellent ability to fill niches in the market that are not being filled adequately (e.g. Picasa, Maps, News), and their products are differentiated by being ad-supported but otherwise free, which is a devastating approach for any competitor relying on a micropayment or subscription model. They seem to have the leverage to do things no other company could do at the moment, such as the book search system they are building and the Scholar academic journal search engine. This means that even if the implementation is 'indifferent' the sheer usefulness of the actual data being delivered still sets them apart.

In other news, why do we really need more Google news? Wake me up when something new actually happens. Some guy writing some vague opinions about some company is not 'news' in any sense.

Re:Give them time (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670035)

In addition, they have an excellent ability to fill niches in the market that are not being filled adequately (e.g. Picasa, Maps, News)


Just to nitpick. Google bought Picasa so they didn't fill that niche, they just bought their way into it. Much like many other successful software companies do.

Slashdot (2, Funny)

killa62 (828317) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669909)

Does this remind you of strategies from any other companies?

I was kinda thinking you were talking about Microsoft, but they don't do anything well.
Apple cannot be it because they do everything well.

However, this does remind me of Slashdot
Does one thing well (dupes)
and is bad at everything else (stories, having links work, not /.ing the links, etcetc)

(this post would have been SOO much better if this story was indeed a dupe)

Re:Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16669999)

Nevermind. You might get another chance next week.

Re:Slashdot (1)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670007)

Just wait a day...

Re:Slashdot (1)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670105)

I was kinda thinking you were talking about Microsoft, but they don't do anything well.

If they sucked so hard, they wouldn't exist.

There are a few Microsoft products that really are best-in-class. Excel comes to mind...it's the lifeblood app of the business world. The majority of hardware with a Microsoft label is pretty damn solid.

Apple cannot be it because they do everything well.

If they did everything well, they'd have a double-digit piece of the pie. Apple has certainly taken their share of boneheaded turns in the past.

Re:Slashdot (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670153)

Apple cannot be it because they do everything well.
I would say that Apple is a perfect fit since the ONLY thing they do well (perfect, I must admit) is nice shiny buttons. The rest is worthless.

risk/experience (1)

kv9 (697238) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669911)

But others projects mean entering areas where Google doesn't have much experience, and is taking a risk.

you mean like they did with search?

Re:risk/experience (1)

rf0 (159958) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670217)

You can only get expierence by either buying it in or expermimenting. If it goes wrong then just dust yourself off, get up and try again.

Buzz is where it's at (4, Insightful)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669953)

Google is trying to maintain the appearance of being innovative, and doing a good job of it. Every time they release a new product, even if they downgrade its importance or ditch it later, it gets tremendous buzz. Buzz is where it's at, and everytime they generate more buzz they drive more advertisers, searchers, and AdSense publishers to their site.

Another advantage to developing TONS of new products is that it keeps their folks busy on cool/fun new products. Most software engineers want to be able to go home to their families and have something fun to show them as an example of what they do. Showing your kid GoogleMaps or GoogleEarth will impress the heck out of them, and they'll think you're a genius.

If Google didn't have the 70/20/10 development principal, these engineers would be going home and answering their friends' prompts with "Ummm...if you want to know what I do, check out the results of searching for Mexican Pizza now vs. 2 years ago, the results are so much more relevant". Fun.

I don't know... (2, Insightful)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669987)

Google has a lot of money to throw around at the moment, perhaps too much to not be trying something new.

On the other hand, I really think it needs to actually make one of those "side projects" into a real win, because I think that as good as Google search is, I don't know that its worth that market cap by itself. I think people invested in Google precisely because they thought they could use their search advantage to create other products that would be successful. To that end, I think Google is doing what it should be doing, but they may want to find something that works really well and maybe not go too far overboard with accepting indifferent projects. Loss leaders are fine, but you can't have every product be one. Even Microsoft has a fair proportion of revenue generators in addition to the indifferent crap that they give away for free. Google has... search.

The YouTube acquisition bothers me in that regard. People would like to think that YouTube could get common carrier protection, or that they can somehow reach a deal with the MPAA/RIAA sharks, but I'm not sure I'd bet the farm on that The acquisition was expensive and dangerous to begin with. Now, the Google ownership makes it worth the effort of having the sharks attack for a score. Google isn't an ISP and there's no reason that just because you have an unfiltered website for posting means that you are now in the same boat as telcos and ISPs in terms of not being liable for what goes over your lines. YouTube isn't infrastructure, its a leaf node.

Google's got a lot of goodwill capital, but eventually, I think someone is going to start asking where the bacon is if the investment money is being used for indifferent projects around plain old search.

Re:I don't know... (2, Interesting)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670297)

Gootube's protection has nothing to do with Telcoms/common carrier and everything to do with the DMCA.

before the DMCA you could in fact be sued for having infringing material posted to your service. now you cannot be if you comply with a porperly sent DMCA takedown letter, or never recieve a properly sent DMCA takedown letter

Re:I don't know... (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670913)

before the DMCA you could in fact be sued for having infringing material posted to your service. now you cannot be if you comply with a porperly sent DMCA takedown letter

That's downright unAmerican! I doubt it is true. You can basically sue anybody over anything. Whether you win or not, is another matter.

Sorry, but... (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669989)

...the question as posed suggests issues where none exist.

Second-guessing success does nothing more than reflect the lack of understanding of the questioner. The 'failings' are subjective, reaching no further than the opinions of one person; the process put up for examination are at best simply not known, again, at least to the questioner.

And last, but not least, the questioner hints that perhaps there is some sort of success formula to be captured and applied elsewhere, which is at best similar to pretending that quick-sand is concrete. Even if it were, the playing field to which it applied would have gone subterranean before the ink was dry on any report, requiring a new approach, new analysis, etc.

Best to ponder another research paper topic, Grasshopper.

Losing? (1)

Somatic (888514) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669995)

Just because they don't dominate every market doesn't they're "losing". As a business, if they're making money stably (and boy, are they), they're winning. Period. They're just doing it in different ways.

I can tell you one way they're winning: when Google releases something new, I pay attention, because there's a good chance I'll like it more than what the competition offers. They've got my brand loyalty by not sucking.

  • Gmail: I don't know the numbers on whether it's beating Yahoo, Hotmail and AOL (doubt it), but I know it beats all of them in usability. Hotmail? Right, give me some more buggy javascript, annoying hooks into Messenger, and ads that make my brain seize. Yahoo just turns me off because it seems like everything Yahoo runs too slow. I never bothered even trying it. AOL? Heh.
  • Chat: Yahoo and Windows chat are ridiculously bloated and annoying pieces of software. Give me one reason that a chat program should suck so much memory and do so many annoying things. AOL chat? Heh. I'm just including AOL as a joke at this point; I wouldn't know, I haven't used it since 1995. Google chat is sleek, simple.
  • APIs/development: No surprise here, Google's APIs are the best (speaking as a programmer). Yahoo is actually not too far behind in this area-- I know that at least one of their APIs beats Google, and that's the geocoding API. They give better accuracy-- I've tested this myself as part of my job. That would be great except for one thing... Google's API allows 50,000 requests per day, Yahoo's only 5,000. Therefore, I have to stick with Google for the bulk of work, going to Yahoo only to correct hard to find addresses.
  • Mapping: A small subcategory maybe, but Google beats the rest here easily. Google maps are just cooler, faster, easier to use.
I'll stop there because this is starting to sound like a slashvertisement. But in my mind they're winning in every area that counts. If the majority of people stick with Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL, it's their loss, and maybe this is the one place Google is loosing: the constant, unceasing barrage of advertisement that keeps companies like AOL in business by recruiting customers too clueless to know any better.

Re:Losing? (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670239)

AIM Chat is bloated and full of ads.

Of course, I know a lot of people who use it and won't switch, so I still use the AIM protocol.

Thanks to people I know using different networks (and the official AIM client's ads), I now use GAIM [sourceforge.net] . I'm connected to AIM, MSN, and YIM right now, with GTalk and ICQ also configured for it. I don't use GTalk simply because I don't know anyone who uses it... not even those with GMail accounts.

ICQ is turned off because ICQ only does spam filtering on the client side... and GAIM doesn't appear to have it built in. With a 6 digit UIN, you appear fairly early in the number set, so I was getting at least 4 spam messages a day, usually more.

Re:Losing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16670863)

Bah, memory? Keep Gmail open for a while and oopsss, where did all my memory go. To Firefox, of course. And it'll take a whole lot more than my MSN and Skype combined... And while I must agree, that usability of the Gmail in it's functionality is good, it is still butt ugly as most of the web based mail clients. I don't know if thats a rule or all the effort goes into programming or what.

Summary of article (1)

gavri (663286) | more than 7 years ago | (#16669997)

Google wants to be loved and not reviled like Microsoft. So they don't want their products to succeed.

Well that's funny (5, Insightful)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670003)

When Google does it it's an interesting and enigmatic experiment that everybody likes to watch, but when it's Microsoft (and we're talking about exactly the same thing here, except that they started 10 years ago) then they're "stumbling in the dark" and it's just "a matter of time before they fail". XBox, MSN, Encarta, most of their server products, etc. That's just too funny.

Re:Well that's funny (1)

ozbird (127571) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670287)

Microsoft does something unbelievably well?

Re:Well that's funny (1)

aug24 (38229) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670607)

Can't help but notice that XBox Live isn't aren't given away like Google Docs and Spreadsheets. Encarta isn't freely available like Google Earth. Somehow Google's offerings have a ring of philanthropy while MS's are, well, just business.

Justin.

Re:Well that's funny (0, Troll)

rm999 (775449) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670623)

This has to be one of the most interesting comments I have seen in a while, because it so succinctly demonstrates the hipocracy of slashdotters (and the entire tech industry as a whole).

unsuccessful attempts bolster MY brand too (0, Troll)

Ch*mp (863455) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670019)

Look everyone!!! ....I failed to get first post....again!

Remember my name! You'll be seeing my name lots more!

Re:unsuccessful attempts bolster MY brand too (1)

kjart (941720) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670245)

Look everyone!!! ....I failed to get first post....again!

Sweet, do you have a search engine I could use?

Obligatory (2, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670051)

1. Do one thing well
2. Suck at everything else tried
3. ?
4. PROFIT!

   

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16670233)

Take me, for instance:

1. Do one thing well: sleep

2. Suck at everything else: 'nuff said.

3. ???

4. PROFIT: not happening.

Seems that we need to work more on point #3...

The purpose? (1)

WisC (963341) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670077)

So which which one of you shet eating numbskulls at slashdot has just bought shares in google? Either that or you are trying to emulate google by being great at one thing and sucking at everything else. Although its not working is it chaps, cos you are good for nothing, and the only thing you are bad at is sucking cocks.

http://goatse.cz/ [goatse.cz]

Mediocre? (1)

paxmaniac (988091) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670083)

That's the fundamental problem when you measure success by market share. You just don't get the whole picture.

They might not all be 'market share' leaders, but Gmail, Maps, Docs and Spreadsheets, Calendar, Picasa and Sketchup are all arguably best in category products.

And the main point which failed to even score a mention is that what Google does very well (and is improving all the time) is to integrate these diverse offerings in a coherent way. You can't even really talk about market share there, because there is no other company that offers the same breadth of integrated services from a single account.

I call BS (0, Redundant)

Mike_K (138858) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670085)

Gmail? Google Maps? I use those two regularly. I know lots of people who switched all their e-mail to GMail (keeping their old addresses by forwarding and using foreign From:). I use Google Maps pretty exclusively, after I got disappointed with both MapQuest and Yahoo Maps.

Google Calendar is actually also pretty darn good, and new users (who aren't all locked into Outlook/Yahoo/Palm/whatever) like it a lot.

I would say that those two are VERY successful extensions. Certainly not *LOSING* extensions. Calendar is at least on par.

m

Google Could Do More (1)

ahayes_m (1016758) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670091)

Google could do more to drive people to their side products like post ads for them on their search pages, but it could turn off the users and drive them away from Google. Right now those extras that Google develops brings more traffic to the Google website through the various integration features Google has built in them. It's much better to use those other products to drive people to the search then trying to give those secondary products dominance whilst loosing dominance in your primary product.

Not every business can do that (1)

Parlett316 (112473) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670097)

Ask Vincent Kennedy McMahon how his other business ventures are going.

trying, not losing (1)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670111)

the key question for Google's future is whether it can realize that losing is really one of the best assets the company has

No.

Does Google shoot itself in the foot every time it scores a win with a new product? Of course not. It is not the losing that is important. That's simply a by-product of taking a lot of shots on goal; most of them miss. But Google doesn't celebrate the failures. It celebrates willingness to take chances and try new things, because it knows that such an attitude will lead to more attemps, less staying in the safe zone, and ultimately more successes.

Sorry, did you say ORACLE? (3, Insightful)

Fuzuli (135489) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670119)

This is what Oracle does. To me, they are a database vendor. Yes they have development tools in java, application servers, soa solutions etc. I have been working with their technology for over two years now, and the products other than the database really sucks. The database sucks too, but it sucks in a stable manner.
Especially the application server is a pain in the a.s, and their development tools make you question your life as a developer. At the moment they have a product portfolio hidden behind their brand constructed by the database. This seems to work though, they somehow reflect the image of a large vendor with many solutions. (not to me, but to managers, market etc.)

Obligatory (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16670127)

Is the new recipe for success to do one thing unbelievably well and several other things indifferently? Does this remind you of strategies from any other companies?

one thing unbelievably well: customer lock-in
several other things indifferently: developing secure software, creating game consoles, ...

The winner is ... Microsoft!

A simple success story (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670137)

Google does well, because... they have a single popular product. The search engine. It makes enough money to fund a lot of failures. Everything else is just them playing around hoping to strike lucky again. At the rate they're going, they'll probably end up with another succesful product through sheer dumb luck. This is probably the idea.

But why do people find this so strange? Microsoft have a similar way of working. A lot of their products lose money. They make all their money from Windows and Office. Like Google search, this is a cash cow. There's little room for growth, so all the money is invested in getting a foothold in other areas.

o god here we go again... (1)

pzarecta (775947) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670163)

When TFA said "losing is an asset", all kinds of red flags went up in my head.

Remember when the tech media was all over the idea of giving away free PCs and Internet access just to make money off the adware and spyware? They also loved those Internet pet stores who spent gazillions on Superbowl ads just to increase "mindshare", not to mention the free delivery-by-bike-messenger-service... you could buy a chocolate bar and some rasta dude with a bright orange and green messenger bag shows up at your office a few hours later... they wouldn't even take tips.

The bubble-era was full of companies with bad ideas, which the media ate up and sold. We all know what happened after.

You figure there was a lesson learned. But when the media starts spouting stupid crap like "losing is an asset", I can't help but worry that another bubble is starting to rise.

Moats (3, Interesting)

tpengster (566422) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670167)

What will determine Google's business success in the long run is a) the moats it can build around its businesses, and b) whether they can overcome their competitors' moats. (A moat is some advantage that protects the company from competition. In the tech industry this is usually called "stickiness")

In some of the businesses mentioned in the article, such as IM and email, moats exist, but unfortunately Google is on the wrong side of those moats. AIM and Y! Mail are on the inside, and Google is on the outside trying to get in. These moats are not that strong (very few are in technology), but it doesn't look like Google is making too much headway. If anyone should be scaring Yahoo Mail and AIM, it's Facebook and Myspace. Those guys already have a list of your friends, which eliminates a major switching cost, and they have already shown that contextualized communication wins. (Most college kids don't use email anymore -- they use fb.) I'm convinced that only business-related email is saving email as a paradigm in the next 10 years, but who knows what can happen in that time?

I have been trying to identify Google's moats and I can think of a few. The first is the brand name. Google is cool because they release a bunch of cool technology and they win the evangelizers, who are really important when it's only a matter of picking among similar-quality search engines. The second is that they have supposedly assembled a really amazing team. This is not so easy to do, even with a large amount of money, as MSN Search has shown. Finally, the infrastructure has to be given some credit. Not just the hardware farms, but the gigantic databases that have been assembled over time which might make Google a better-informed and therefore better-results-producing search.

The above moats -- both google's and competitors' -- are only fair, not permanant. The upside is that Y! and AIM's moats can be destroyed. So it is conceivable that in the long run, Google chips away and evenutally wins those markets through tough-nosed competition. They'll have to make much better sites before we get to that point.

The downside is that these moats are not as strong as platform lock-ins. Technologies are so interdependent that platforms (something other companies are truly dependent on) naturally form monopolies, and those monopolies naturally give birth to other monopolies. Microsoft is a perfect example. And it is not hard to imagine them using their browser platform to become the winner in search. Unfortunately, google has not yet been able to form a platform (gmaps mashups don't count). I think they are really trying to do this by becoming what we used to call a portal (before 2.0 was cool). The problem is that nobody is dependent on any of their pieces. Web search isn't a dependency or a launching point, except to the extent that people used to use the search engine as their homepage (who needs that when we have search boxes in the browser?).

MS doesn't even need to make MSN as good as Google.. they just have to get it "good enough" such that it isn't worth people's time to switch away from the default search in IE. The whole idea espoused by the article of "winning by losing" is ridiculous. The fact is that Google is winning bigtime in search -- so big that they can afford to lose elsewhere. But they certainly aren't losing on purpose, or solely to promote the google brand. And they have little room for error in search.

Monetization you say? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16670189)

Well, then I say FUCK OFF you slimy DOUCHEBAG!

Oh ye of Google faith (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16670235)

They have a search engine but a majority of their money comes from adsense. Thats about it. Nothing else really generates much revenue at all.

I never 'meta' Google product I didn't like (1)

hugecabbage (950972) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670251)

Part of Google's simpicity is that it's contantly evolving and creating itself. I say it rather than them because it's become this thing that all of us are sort of changing.

I've recently been getting into Google Analytics http://tinyurl.com/dc7ts [tinyurl.com] and watching how their site tracking tools are becoming seamlessly integrated with their (or your) ad programs and revenue stream(s). While, still very clunky and lacking a great UI, the potential is obviously great.

Google IS the web now.

No, it's not about only doing one thing. (1)

tlim (590309) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670255)

If that happened, 3M would have been out of business ages ago. It's about inventing and innovating. Good ideas, and execution of good ideas is what it is all about. One of these days, search will become much more of a commodity. Google will have to extend its search to utilize it more ways that people want to continually improve its product. But still, change will occur, and Google has to be ready for it. This is one big reason why Google is trying to do so many things. Google would want to invent the YouTubes, the KeyHoles, etc. but in the end, purchased them. They sure would have saved a ton of money not acquiring those companies, and by building all the things that are there. The guys who do one thing extremely well are the ones who want to sell off their company to the highest bidder after a few years. It's that simple.

room to experiment (1)

moneybuystrophies (933297) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670265)

the strategy is more, do one thing unbelievably well so that you have the freedom to experiment with lots of other things without worrying about how successful they might be economically. you get the benefit of being seen as a free-thinking innovator

Only the best work here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16670289)

For a company that only hire the best from the best schools, it is rather funny they excel in only one area. i believe there is a lot of hot air inside google..

DON'T READ THAT ARTICLE, IT WILL MAKE YOU STUPID! (1)

Vryl (31994) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670313)

Jesus titty-fucking H Christ on a bike fucking me sideways with a chainsaw THAT WAS A DUMB ARTICLE.

I am stupider for having read it.

As will you be. Don't do it.

Re:DON'T READ THAT ARTICLE, IT WILL MAKE YOU STUPI (1)

micpp (818596) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670883)

It's ok, no-one actually reads the articles.

New Recipe? (1)

Jake73 (306340) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670319)

Microsoft has been successful on two fronts: Operating systems and Office. On almost everything else, they have failed. (from a profitability point of view)

VC (1)

Tom (822) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670349)

Maybe it's just that Google has enough money to throw it around, knowing well that most of its projects will never get a positive cash flow, but taking risks is the only way to stumble upon the next big thing.

Image is everything (1)

Maljin Jolt (746064) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670355)

Is the new recipe for success to do one thing unbelievably well and several other things indifferently? Does this remind you of strategies from any other companies?"

Pentagon.

Google is to web as Commerical TV is to well... TV (1)

angryshot (949180) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670361)

I haven't seen (with a few expections) Google attempt to make money (and hence "market share") on any of its products except Ads. This is exactly how TV stations work - they make shows (some are funny some not, some boring some OK) in the hope they you will watch their channel and hence improve their ratings in turn improving the amount they can charge advertisers for air time. TV stations make a huge investment making/buying shows in the hope that you will watch their channel over another. With Google's non-core projects they must be investing in them because 1. interest rates are not as good as more Ad hits and 2. because they can. The up shot is they get to maybe in the future sell the fruits for direct money instead of indirect (ad) money. TV stations/producers do this too (but only recently in the life of the TV) - box set anyone? (or should I say Gmail, calendar, docs and spreadsheets, picasa web albums, groups, maps, finance, earth, page creator, talk, video, news.... wow there are a lot aren't there!)

It's the ads, stupid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16670373)

Google is certainly a leader in search, and a legitimate player in other technologies (mail, picture management, and so on). Based on what I've seen from them recently, however, the technology that unifies all these and makes up their core business is the advertising business. Their auction-like system for Adwords is one of the most innovative things they do, and it is wildly profitable. They just bought up a company that does nothing but match up radio ad sellers and buyers. Just ads - no other technology.

Google is an advertising company. It is not a mail company, a picture company, or even a search company. This should be no surprise, as the ads are where the money comes from. The search (and all the other services) are just there as drivers for the ad business.

Think about that carefully. The core business of many companies you know and love isn't what you think it is. Gillette is not a razor company, it's a razor blade company. Starbucks and Barnes and Noble are not coffee and book companies, respectively, they are experience companies. They sell the experience of buying {coffee, a book}.

Something Google hasn't tried yet... (1)

kickdown (824054) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670381)

Finding *without* searching. Just zap through the internet! Just like here: http://www.webjumping.com/ [webjumping.com]

Missing the point about 'losing' (1)

Builder (103701) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670385)

A lot of people here seem to be missing the point about losing...

What Google is doing is VERY different in today's market - they are building things that they know might suck, and they don't care about taking a few hits.

Too many companies respond to failure by never trying anything outside of their core competencies again, and this limits the potential of these companies. The fact that Google are prepared to fail, prepared to lose at some things is definitely a major asset for a company today, and I think that's what the author was referring to.

Walmart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16670407)

Google is like Walmart - offering free services (which may or may not be better than competitors services which you may or may not have to pay for) propped up by their ad revenue.

The result of this is the destruction of their competitors.

One day we'll all work for Google.

Search? Mail? Maps? eh? You're all wrong. (4, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670429)

They're what bring you to Google's product.

Google's product is adsense and adwords.

 

gmail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16670751)

the best email service, probably you forgot about google earth as well..

Not winning doesn't mean losing! (1)

RafaelGCPP (922041) | more than 7 years ago | (#16670837)

Somehow, I think John Nash (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Forbes_Nash [wikipedia.org] ) would be laughing out loud on the topic! Sometimes, if you didn't win, it doesn't mean you lost!

Take Russian Roulette: if you fire the first shot and it is a blank, and then you give up, you did not win, but definitely you did not lose since you are still alive!!!!

I th4nk you for your time (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16670915)

development moDels WOOT
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