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Why Google's New Products Need Not Succeed 235

Posted by timothy
from the in-and-of-themselves-heretofore-thereunder dept.
RJS writes "There have been some industry analysts lately who have called into question Google's real success, claiming that while Google's search remains a big winner, it has missed the mark when it comes to generating profitable, secondary products. BusinessWeek has just such an article ("So much fanfare, so few hits") but others argue that success relative to the size of Google's bread-and-butter (search) ultimately doesn't matter because it doesn't cost Google much extra to keep these secondary services — like Gmail — operational: the Google grid is on and growing regardless of what services are being run on top of it."
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Why Google's New Products Need Not Succeed

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  • by Marc2k (221814) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @12:03PM (#15927227) Homepage Journal
    These are all basic principles of economics. Nothing for you to see here, move along.
    • by Otter (3800) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @12:41PM (#15927526) Journal
      Well, it depends what you mean by "matters". Does it hurt Google to keep churning out one unprofitable GWhatever-beta after another? Not really, as long as they have their choice of new hires and are paying them with overpriced stock.

      But if you own that overpriced stock on the premise that Google is going to keep generating new businesses to complement the only thing they have that makes them money -- then it matters whether GWhatever turns a profit or not.

      • by Xichekolas (908635) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @02:09PM (#15928325)

        I think the GP's point is that all these secondary 'misses' are just another way to keep the google brand (and google search and adwords) front in center in Internet culture. One could argue that Coke wastes tons of money developing advertisements and promotions, but they have a very strong brandname and they got it because they continually push it. As soon as Google stops releasing a new beta for everyone to go gaga over once a month, they will no longer hold the spotlight, and people will take them for granted. As long as google uses new products to generate buzz, they will keep generating revenue for their ads.

        An analogy would be how Nintendo used to operate... I'm sure they didn't make a ton of money on each game title, but having a good collection of games was critical to get people to buy the console in the first place. This analogy isn't too great though, because nowdays the consoles most likely sell at a loss and the bread and butter are the games and accessories.

  • by solidtransient (883338) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @12:06PM (#15927252) Homepage
    Gmail is by far my favorite web-based email client. Google Calendar has proven to be a very useful tool as well. I use Google Local at least once a week and on and on and on. Maybe Google knows they make enough money on search and that they just want to release good, useful, user-friendly products that are miles better than the competition, even if they aren't profitable. Yahoo's gazillion ads on their email service is one reason I don't use it anymore.
    • by iced_773 (857608) <`ten.yevadnai' `ta' `nai'> on Thursday August 17, 2006 @12:21PM (#15927374)
      Gmail offers POP3 for free while Yahoo makes you subscribe to Yahoo Plus.

      Also, Google Sketchup [google.com] is pretty neat...
      • Yahoo makes you subscribe to Yahoo Plus.


        I'm not sure what it's called, it might be Yahoo Plus, but it's free. Just set the POP3 and SMTP servers and use whatever email client you wish. The only problem I've felt is that some span that's filtered in the webmail goes through the POP3 access.

    • Maybe I just don't understand Gmail, but I hate it. When I first login, all I see is a cluttered view of mail. Sure, I can filter and assign labels to things, but it is completely unintuitive to me.

      I guess Gmail did cause Yahoo to up its quota.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by navarroj (907499)
        Yes, you don't understand it.

        Archive everything to keep your Inbox clear. Then search for old messages when you need them, by labels, by people, or by keywords. You don't have to see a "cluttered view" of your mail.
      • You probably also have that first line setting on. If your settings will display the first line of the email, your inbox looks like a list of lines of text. Turn that feature off and you will see the subject lines only like a normal email account.
    • by lowid (24) _________ (878977) <patrick.atomisk@com> on Thursday August 17, 2006 @12:55PM (#15927668) Homepage
      Maybe Google knows they make enough money on search and that they just want to release good, useful, user-friendly products that are miles better than the competition, even if they aren't profitable.

      I think that the point of them doing this is that it adds value to their brand. Maybe they aren't turning a profit with some of their niche services, but those services are driving users to the rest of google's more profitable offerings. Have you used the google text messaging service? It's incredibly useful, and probably not directly profitable for google. Often when i'm driving around and realize i need to go somewhere (for example a hardware store) i can just text google, and seconds later receive a text with addresses and phone numbers of nearby hardware stores. They haven't made any money directly off me with this service, but since I enjoy and use the service so much I'd say I'm more likely to look out for other google offerings and use other google products in the future.

      It's kind of like advertising - they're just building their brand and driving more and more users to their products. Even if their new products don't "succeed," per se, as long as they're pretty neat it will help them in the long run.
    • by Om (5281) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:09PM (#15927766)


      Maybe Google knows they make enough money on search and that they just want to release good, useful, user-friendly products that are miles better than the competition, even if they aren't profitable.


      *slaps your face*

      SNAP OUT OF IT! Don't you understand!? They're here to kill us all! ALL OF US!

      ++Om
    • by buswolley (591500)
      enter testimonials..
    • Gmail -- logins! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by whoever57 (658626)
      Gmail serves another function: Google wants to track users' search behaviour. Gmail is a sweetener to get people to login to Google, so now Google can track searches by individual users across different machines.
    • Um, corporations exist to make money period. The stuff they create along the way is simply a means.

      Now those cool serivces they make and we all use generate revenue based on the advertising that is presented along with the results.

      I think the success of thier search results is based on the straight text nature sitting off to the side. When I go to a page, and I imagine this happens to others as well, when I see those flashing ads, the long sky scraper, the flash animations, I reflexively look away r
  • Funny thing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @12:06PM (#15927255) Journal
    it took google's search engine 3-5 years to overcome inertia in a relatively new arena (web search). Now, it is competing against much longer established business (e-mail has been around for multiple decades). It will not be overnight that Google services will grow, but they will grow.
    • Re:Funny thing (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother@NOSPAM.optonline.net> on Thursday August 17, 2006 @12:15PM (#15927319) Journal

      And that's generally true of any product that attempts to enter an already established market. You make an initial splash but then it takes a while to build a base beyond the initial rush. Word of mouth eventually takes over and assuming a product is useful or even desireable, eventually its acceptance rate increases (look at Firefox's steady growth).

      • Re:Funny thing (Score:5, Interesting)

        by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @12:20PM (#15927357) Journal
        The difference being that Firefox had to build a new brand. Yes, the internals are mozilla, but mozilla pretty much killed its name 5-8 years earlier. Firefox is working on creating a brand name in a very saturated market.

        Nice thing for Google, is that although they are the new player on the block (vs. yahoo, aol, MS, etc), they have a superior reputation to all the other players. They just have to capitalize on that (i.e. no crap products that take their name down).
        • Re:Funny thing (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother@NOSPAM.optonline.net> on Thursday August 17, 2006 @12:32PM (#15927448) Journal
          Nice thing for Google, is that although they are the new player on the block (vs. yahoo, aol, MS, etc), they have a superior reputation to all the other players. They just have to capitalize on that (i.e. no crap products that take their name down).

          The thing that bothers me about Google is: is it too much of a good thing? Put aside quality for a moment; is it possible Google's continuing expansion will spread it too thin? Mind you, Amazon has been expanding for what seems like eons now, but their main site is starting to get cluttered and I think they've been overstepping their reach with some of the areas they've gotten into (Groceries?). I'd be afraid of Google diluting itself too much in an attempt to become universally ubiquitous.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by zenslug (542549) *

            is it possible Google's continuing expansion will spread it too thin?

            I think it al depends on how Google organizes itself. If it tries to become a borg, then it will suffer from its size like all of the rest of them. But if Google can operate internally as a distributed collection of startups, all leveraging the great infrastructure they've built and minds they've collected, then I think they stand a much better chance of benefitting from economies of scale and not being dragged down by bloat.

            • Re:Funny thing (Score:4, Insightful)

              by cyngus (753668) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:41PM (#15928030)
              I think that you've hit on something that makes Google unique, in that they are like a giant collection of startups. Google is organized into a variety of teams that operate in relative autonomy to the whole. They do stay in touch with the "mothership" and cooperate where it makes sense and will enhance their products, but most of their products are relatively standalone, or at least start that way. A lot of web companies (Yahoo) try to tightly integrate all their services from the get-go, if a service can't be made to drive more traffic to the rest of the portal, its a no-go. Google's products tend to start out as islands and gradually be drawn into the Google network (notice the increasing integration of Gmail with other services). I think the benefit here is then the links with the rest of the product portfolio grow organically where it makes sense rather than where people guess it will make sense or the marketing people think it'll work to drive cross traffic.

              I also think that, while unstated, one of Google's philosophies with hiring is to just get a bunch of smart people together in a room, give them resources, and say, "Make whatever you want, because probably other people want it too." This requires one thing primarily, an ability to find just the right people who will use this environment and not exploit it. The key to continuing Google success is being able to find the right people.
          • Re:Funny thing (Score:5, Interesting)

            by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @12:47PM (#15927596) Journal
            That will depend on management. They are hiring good geeks (actually great geeks) that are tech savy(able to invent and do things) rather than busines savy (read political a**kissers who learn how to take credit and spread the blame). The real question is, have they been hiring the right middle management. These are the guys who can break the company (even though they rarely make the company). Yahoo screwed up long ago, by hiring business ppl who let their tech edge go (hiring business savy geeks rather than tech savy). MS, same way (their monopoly kept them alive). Amazon is whole nother creature. I have not stayed up on them and I have no friends working there, so I really can not comment on them. But from where I sit, they seem to be doing ok. Of course, they probably should do some updating on their website and consider taking on e-bay. Perhaps work with google to accomplish such?
            • by Skim123 (3322)

              Amazon is whole nother creature. I have not stayed up on them and I have no friends working there, so I really can not comment on them. But from where I sit, they seem to be doing ok. Of course, they probably should do some updating on their website and consider taking on e-bay.

              They've tried to take on eBay in the past - remember Amazon auctions? From Greg Linden, a former Amazon employee from the "early days":

              In March of 1999, Amazon.com launched an auction site to compete with eBay. ... When the site

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by jthill (303417)

            There's one thing I've seen as constant in Google's products: they raise the bar on too-cheap-to-meter. Then they do a value add and make money with the pros. Some things, nobody can make money on, so they just give it away to drive the nickel-and-dimers back to boiler rooms and fax spamming where they belong.

            The freebies also make everyone more willing to tolerate their main profit generator, the ubiquitous ads which they already take great pains to make as unobtrusive as possible. gmail, groups, news,

    • by TrippTDF (513419)
      People also need to learn the Google way of thinking, which in my mind is to let the computer do the work, and you just tell it what you want to see... I rarely tag emails in gmail, because the search function pulls up any email that I need to look at. that saves me time sorting through all my email, but at the same time there are a lot of people who don't "get" that yet. It's going to be even harder for spreadsheets and Writely to get in there, too. YOu really need to change your thinking in order to "g
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sparohok (318277)
      it took google's search engine 3-5 years to overcome inertia in a relatively new arena (web search).

      That simply isn't true. When a new and better search engine comes out, it spreads like wildfire. Google search gained market share extremely quickly, as did Lycos and Alta Vista when they each introduced search products that were markedly better than what was available at the time. Google took only 3 years to go from first round financing to absolute leadership of a mature market. There's no significant inert
  • Hmmm... maybe? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by andrewman327 (635952) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @12:07PM (#15927261) Homepage Journal
    Google search is the most popular on the Internet. As a matter of fact it has been forever enshrined in the dictionary as such. Google will continue to be profitable


    I do disagree with TFA in that it treats other services as inconsequential. There is a reason that Yahoo! ranks #1 on lists of most popular websites. Although there are GMail and a customized homepage [google.com], Yahoo! still beats them on those fronts. The search market is pretty well defined. In order for Google to become an even bigger success it must become extremely successful in its side businesses. I refuse to accept TFA's arguement that it doesn't matter because they aren't spend that much money on it.

    • Re:Hmmm... maybe? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by theStorminMormon (883615) <theStorminMormon@NosPam.gmail.com> on Thursday August 17, 2006 @12:14PM (#15927315) Homepage Journal
      I think you're crazy if you think Yahoo! Mail is better than Gmail. I have two accounts for each. My first web-based email account was Yahoo!, so I've been with them for a very long time.

      The reasons I like GMail so much better are:

      1. I got on board early (admittedly not a design feature) so I got the names I wanted
      2. Better GUI - simpler, more powerful
      3. Integration with awesome products that involve sharing I love being able to share Google Calenders with my wife. We each have a personal calender and we share a calender for stuff we do together - and it all shows up (color-coded) on one display. It's brilliant. We use Google Spreadsheet for simple budget tracking as well.

      Yahoo is #1 because of the head-start, that's it.

      -stormin
      • fyi: Yahoo bought into the webmail business as an aside when it aquired four11.com ... which owned rocketmail.com one of the earlier webmail providers, still have my rocketmail address, which I don't use... if you see any yahoo users with .rm at the end of their yahhoo id, they've been around a while (10+ years now)

        I think yahoo is making greater strides with webmail under competition, their new beta interface is okay, honestly, I use my own IMAP server for most of my needs, I like gmails "light" interfa
      • The reasons I like GMail so much better are:

        2. Better GUI - simpler, more powerful

        No, the GMail UI is decidely less powerful. You can't have multiple emails at once open for example. (By right clicking and opening in a new tab or new window.) You can't view unread mail with a single click. (To do *anything* other than plow through the main mail list requires using Search - which is decidely less powerful than the View: function used by Yahoo.)

        • I guess it depends on how you use it. Not being able to have multiple emails open at a time has been a hindrance to me at times, I will admit. But having to view new emails? They're at the top of my list in bold - how hard is that?

          And by far the most frustrating thing I have had to deal with in emails is finding old emails - and GMails search is great for that.

          I also just like the simplicity. Others have said Yahoo mimics a standalone program. I agree - and that's why I don't like it. I do most of my
          • But having to view new emails? They're at the top of my list in bold - how hard is that?

            I didn't say view new I said view unread. (And new ones aren't bolded anyhow - at least not for me.)

            I also just like the simplicity. Others have said Yahoo mimics a standalone program. I agree - and that's why I don't like it.

            Yahoo mimics a fully functional email client - that's why its more powerful and fully featured than GMail. There are folks who want that power - you are a decided minority.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              Yahoo mimics a fully functional email client - that's why its more powerful and fully featured than GMail. There are folks who want that power - you are a decided minority.

              Personally, I don't know what features Yahoo has (besides being able to view unread emails) that's not in GMail. Does it integrate with a calender? Does it integrate with chat? Does it do anything like that? No - it just immitates a stand-alone program. Well here's a thought - if you want a stand along email program why don't you act
    • There is a reason that Yahoo! ranks #1 on lists of most popular websites.
      Yeah, ISP co-branding. But Google is working on undermining that advantage, not by duplicating it, but by becoming an access provider in its own right.
    • I used yahoo search and email YEARS ago. One day they up and changed format. Stuff scattered all over the place searches returned were by those who paid more.. and OMFG the adds. Hotbot became my next choice and then the company we all know and love GOOGLE. Yahoo is still the #1 site not because of content or ease of use. Its simply because people hate change. No one wants to change their email address from @yahoo to @gmail because its a hassle. It has nothing to do with yahoo being better. only stu
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by IANAAC (692242)
        I use my.yahoo.com every day. Not for the clutter, since I use Firefox w/adblock. I don't see a whole lot of ads.

        Yahoo mail - eh - I could take it or leave it, but my.yahoo.com is unblievably configurable. I can put and arrange content from just about any site I find on the front page.

    • Re:Hmmm... maybe? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Graymalkin (13732) * on Thursday August 17, 2006 @12:37PM (#15927489)
      Yahoo! couldn't be popular because it is the default homepage of millions of SBC/AT&T customers who don't know any better? Nah that's silly. Yahoo! has some nice services and some are indeed better than Google's offerings but for the most part people simply stick with their ISP's default homepage.
      • Yahoo! couldn't be popular because it is the default homepage of millions of SBC/AT&T customers who don't know any better? Nah that's silly. Yahoo! has some nice services and some are indeed better than Google's offerings but for the most part people simply stick with their ISP's default homepage.

        Yahoo! (and other sites) remain more popular because of Google badly broken release cycle.

        Typically it goes like this: Google releases a new service into Beta that's not feature complete, or has a b

  • by maxpow (879014) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @12:08PM (#15927263)
    MalaMata.com [malamata.com] is a cool DHTML application that really upgrades the use of Google IMHO.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, 2006 @12:09PM (#15927273)
    These analysts miss the point. The big win for Google is to replace Micro$oft as the default platform. As Google tools, google desktop and of course Google search as the homepage become the default start point for users, the operating system becomes less relevant.

    Put another way, once people are Google-centric, they can use a Mac or a "GooglePC" or anything else. Linux anyone?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I respectfuly disagree, and also disagree with anyone who would rate the father post as insightful. Once people are google-centric *in the Internet usage*, they will still need their OS to support whatever work *Internet Indepdendent* work environment they operate in. Only college students, I think, treat the Internet itself as a work environment. In my academic field, we use, in addition, multiple software for statistical analysis, setting of manuscripts and formatting of figures and graphs. WHile there is
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by powerlord (28156)
        yeah ... I don't see Google ever being able to be used for real office work like Word Processing [writely.com] with Collaboration, Spreadsheets [google.com] or Email [google.com] and Calendaring [google.com]. :)

        Yes, there are lots of things for which a stand-alone computer need to be used, however from a practical perspective, we've been discussing diskless workstations and thin clients as being useful in a large percentage of the "work" market. If that is true, then there is no reason (outside of security or redundancy ... which can both be addressed) why t
    • by misleb (129952)

      These analysts miss the point. The big win for Google is to replace Micro$oft as the default platform. As Google tools, google desktop and of course Google search as the homepage become the default start point for users, the operating system becomes less relevant.

      Oh, please! The kinds of things that Google coudl provide from a web browser could easily be duplicated (and indeed already exist) on all major platforms. It isn't like LInux users, for example, were not reading email or using spreadsheets before G

    • These analysts miss the point. The big win for Google is to replace Micro$oft as the default platform. As Google tools, google desktop and of course Google search as the homepage become the default start point for users, the operating system becomes less relevant.

      No, the analysts do get that point. But you miss theirs - Google is losing the battle to replace Microsoft/Yahoo/etc..., their services routinely come in a distant second. To hit the big win, they've got to gain eyeballs and marketshare - and th

  • Dot-Com Mentality (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ehaggis (879721) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @12:10PM (#15927283) Homepage Journal
    If Google can't find secondary sources of income and continues to ride on excitement and enthusiasm they will fall prey to the dot-com business model. Eventually someone will build a better mouse-trap (search engine).
    • Even if your product is a billion times better, more stable and whatnot.

      For reference, see Windows and Linux.
      • by Sparohok (318277)
        Tell that to Lycos and Alta Vista. They were each at one point in time prohibitive market leaders in search. There is no evidence whatsoever that web search provides a durable competitive advantage to market leaders. People go where they get the best search results.

        It's likely that this is changing in degree as Internet use widens to a less well informed public. Naive users will probably be more loyal than web users of the late 90s. However there's no reason to believe that this changes the fundamental dyna
      • by misleb (129952)
        Even if your product is a billion times better, more stable and whatnot.

        For reference, see Windows and Linux.


        With Google being service oriented, users are not so much locked into a particular product like they are with their OS. If all the customer has to do is type in a different URL to get a comepeting service, you don't have lock in. The web is extremely volatile that way.

        -matthew
  • Time will tell (Score:2, Insightful)

    It took google's search engine a while to catch on and become the standard. Nearly everyone I know who uses a web based mail client has switched to gmail and google maps is the only place I go for directions.

    It takes time for new software to catch on. In the meantime I think google is doing the right thing by putting a lot of new products out there. Maybe all of them won't catch on but it seems like the majority of them are building a following.

  • Don't exist, I think (at least, in many cases), to make money directly, at least in the short term; rather, they exist to reinforce the profitability of its primary products by increasing stickiness.
  • Bombshell (Score:4, Interesting)

    by quokkapox (847798) <quokkapox@gmail.com> on Thursday August 17, 2006 @12:15PM (#15927317)

    Google has an ace in the hole: the reverse of the Net Neutrality extortion scheme. First they get everybody to use all their free services, Google account, calendar, mail, search history, desktop search, etc. And then Google says to the big ISPs, hey, your customers want to jack in to our distributed computing network? Better pay up! $x.xx per user per month. Guaranteed revenue from the big telcos/cable companies, the ISPs have to run the billing and collection operations while Google just rakes in the bucks.

    ...but that would be sort of evil.

    • by krell (896769)
      "but that would be sort of evil."

      They're already evil. Why else would they be retaining personally-identifiable search information? So far, they've refused to divulge it. But a change in company policy or a court-order could change that. (It's like the library information controversy in the PATRIOT Act arguments: once you've returned the books, why should the library retain any sort of record of your past book checkouts AT ALL????)
      • by jrockway (229604) *
        > Why else would they be retaining personally-identifiable search information?

        Perhaps because that's useful data that they can use to turn their results and make their product more useful?

        > Why should the library retain any sort of record of your past book checkouts AT ALL?

        They shouldn't. Apples to oranges.

        However, the problem is not with Google or libraries -- the problem is with a society that assumes search results and the books you read are "evidence" in a court of law.
      • by tgd (2822)
        How about because people want it?

        If you don't want it to, don't log in. I personally LOVE that it does it. I find it a HUGE benefit that I can search among just my previous searches and previous search results. I can't tell you how many times thats allowed me to find something I saw in another search days, weeks or months ago. Its a lot easier to hunt for the right keywords among my personal result set than the entire internet.

        If you don't log into your google account, it won't track anything personally ide
      • by Ruff_ilb (769396)
        Merely HAVING personally identifiable information does NOT make a company evil. I need two hands to count the number of entities that have my personally identifiable information, and even then, I have to use binary!

        What DOES make a company/entity evil is selling out your personal information for raw profit, without your consent. If they're using my information to give me a better google experience, so much the better... but the moment someone else gets their hands on that information, you can bet I'm pissed
  • Money, bah! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dystopian Rebel (714995) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @12:16PM (#15927325) Journal
    That's right: Bah! Following the example of my heroes W Buffett and W Gates III, I hereby announce that I'm giving all my savings to the Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation. I don't want any dynasty founded on my $763.84.

    Google is building highly usable applications that are not OS-dependent. THAT is what is scaring the traditional software makers. The browser is the interpreter. Firefox is Google's wedge and everything they do is helping to change the way people use computers.

    • by misleb (129952)

      Google is building highly usable applications that are not OS-dependent. THAT is what is scaring the traditional software makers.

      Anyone who says that doesn't know a thing about the "traditional software" business. Also, If you think Google spreadsheets is going to make Excel obsolete, you've obviously never actually used a spreadsheet for anything more complicated than min-maxing a role playing character or managing a grocery shopping list.

      But hey, what do I know? Maybe Google will come out with gPhotoshop

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        If you think Google spreadsheets is going to make Excel obsolete, you've obviously never actually used a spreadsheet for anything more complicated than min-maxing a role playing character or managing a grocery shopping list.

        But hey, what do I know? Maybe Google will come out with gPhotoshop for the browser and photographers will just boot up a BrowserOS and surf to gphotoshop.google.com to get work done.

        If a Web application can do 100% of the 5% of functionality of Excel or Photoshop that most users use, an

  • I always wondered whether Google ever considered just throwing a link on their homepage occasionally, when they really want people to read something. I mean, sure, it would be immeasurably worse than a Slashdotting, but even something like the Net Neutrality stuff.

    I doubt they would actually do it, though. A large advantage Google has over the competition is that they are at least perceived as a commons -- anyone can buy Google adspace, and it has nothing to do with their relationship with Google and ever
  • Goodwill. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tracer_Bullet82 (766262) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @12:21PM (#15927366)
    A good business is beyond just direct and immediate cashflow/revenues of one/a particular products.

    A good business builds goodwill The extra services by google builds goodwill.

    Sure right now its mostly appeals to advanced/experienced net users.. but advanced/experienced net users we're also the first movers/adopters of Google(search)
  • by JGuru42 (140509) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @12:21PM (#15927367)

    Google might not be making large sums of money off of their other products that have been created but it's hard to deny that they haven't caused a major change in how other online companies do their business.



    After using Hotmail for all those years and then switching over to GMail as my primary e-mail I was stunned by how many things Gmail did that made it easier to work with. Now my junk e-mail account was still at Hotmail and when they asked me to be part of the beta testing for Windows Live Mail I figured it's only the junk e-mail account so I gave it a shot.



    Windows Live Mail seems like someone tried to take Outlook and GMail and just mash the two of them together. However, Microsoft has still dropped the ball in making it easy to work with. For anyone who is part of the beta just try and delete multiple mails at the same time. Due to my long time of using computers I have no problem but most regular users are going to have trouble.



    Even before Microsoft went for the complete overhaul they upped their maximum storage capacity in order to compete with GMail. So while it may not be a giant winner for Google money-wise, they've been a great boon to the end users who have finally started to see things get shaken up



    Just like the article mentions I'll leave this innovative and beautiful Google web program with just a name, as if you've used it it's not likely you've forgotten it: Google Maps.

    • Exactly! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by krell (896769)
      "Windows Live Mail seems like someone tried to take Outlook and GMail and just mash the two of them together. However, Microsoft has still dropped the ball in making it easy to work with. For anyone who is part of the beta just try and delete multiple mails at the same time"

      Exactly! I stopped beta-testing it because they made it so difficult to delete the spams. In the regular hotmail, you can tag-check the spams in your inbox quickly and then delete the tagged ones. In "Live", you have to right-click al
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by idugcoal (965425)
        actually, i was surprised how EASY this was. you can shift-click and/or ctrl-click messages and select them the same way you can in windows explorer. it's kind of counter-intuitive to do that in a browser, but it actually works. highlight, then delete.

        not to say that i like windows mail beta. it's god-awful. i use gmail.
  • FUTURE (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kurtis25 (909650)
    Everything Google launches is to build their ability to advertise in the future. IE their music tracking thing that launched today (or yesterday). Google pages, it is easy to have the content then find and search, plus putting ads in is easier when you control the template. I conjecture that they are using these services to track trends and usage to use with their advertising. If they can give you a accurate profile of people who search for "lop eared rabbit" (they tend to listen to jazz, write blogs about
  • Actually, their approach isnt that much different from Microsoft's, at least from an abstract view. They are slowly accumulating more and more useful products, and over time this will bring them to a critical mass. Once they surpass this, then more and more of their "other tools" will be the tools of choice in their specific areas, and then Google will be a monster in the marketplace. The trick will be to not then turn around and be "evil" (i.e. charge for services that were once free because you can, etc).
    • by misleb (129952)

      Actually, their approach isnt that much different from Microsoft's, at least from an abstract view. They are slowly accumulating more and more useful products, and over time this will bring them to a critical mass.

      I think the argument is that they aren't really so useful.. at least if you judge usefullness by success.

      Once they surpass this, then more and more of their "other tools" will be the tools of choice in their specific areas, and then Google will be a monster in the marketplace. The trick will be to

  • While supplies last (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Inmatarian (814090)
    Simple.

    The more people that Google attracts to it's secondary features, the more customers it'll have using the main features. It's a special deal mail in rebate buy one get one free to the first 20 customers. Or, like keeping your doors open during the summer and letting the air conditioning blow out onto the hot streets. Anything to entice customers in.
  • by rel4x (783238) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @12:41PM (#15927531)
    Of course none of their other software is creating a profit...how often does anyone's BETA software turn a profit?! ;-)
  • Google is a window into you, your business and your Life. Google the franchise is 'the window' (search, gmail, eblogger, etc...) building it, extending it and having your information pay for it is the revenue model.

    The very first day Google moved its servers out of .edu environment no business case existed to cover its costs. Google is information driven. Corporations and gov't pay to sniff your window. You will not pay Google for information. Hence the GoogleOS.

    PBS is likely a portion of the hybrid mo
  • by washirv (130045) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @12:51PM (#15927639)
    Whoever wrote this silly blogpost clearly hasn't considered the real reason Google needs their products to succeed. Google's bread and butter is their search product. But here's the problem: search growth is slowing. The only way for Google to keep growing their business at the breakneck speed that they and Wall St have become accustomed to is to find new places besides search pages that they can stick their ads on. Right now Google gets to do that using their Adsense program. Thousands of websites around the world are making Google tons of money. But the margins there will keep slipping as more competitors (Yahoo, MSN etc) come on in and offer to share higher percentages of their revenue with 3rd party publishers. This leaves Google with having to own their own "content" pages where they can stick their ads and book 100% of revenues from them. Unless their other products succeed, Google will truly become a one trick pony as far as their revenues are concerned. No responsible business can afford to become a one trick pony. That way lies death.
    • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      Whoever wrote this silly blogpost clearly hasn't considered the real reason Google needs their products to succeed. Google's bread and butter is their search product. But here's the problem: search growth is slowing. The only way for Google to keep growing their business at the breakneck speed that they and Wall St have become accustomed to is to find new places besides search pages that they can stick their ads on.

      You may be missing a major point. While search growth may be slowing, Google's enterprise

  • Why do you think Google's on top of the search engine world? They're cutting edge and they have a simple interface. While it may not matter that the next thing Google rolls out is successful, it certainly matters that they keep rolling out interesting products and come up with a killer ap, such as gmail, every once in a while. Otherwise, there's nothing to keep the publics interest and curiousity with Google. Who's to say that Yahoo won't give themselves a face lift and change their attitude or that som
  • Every single one of google's products incorporate google text ads. They are unobtrusive and relevent. Next time you're using gmail, and you're looking at an invoice for say, a hard drive you purchased. On the side bar, it will have text ads for hard drives, not only that, but if there is a tracking number in the email, gmail will offer a link to track the shipment. If there is an address in the email, gmail will offer to map it for you. Insanely useful, simple, and unobtrusive. This is why google is s
  • I don't see analysts criticizing Microsoft just because most individual features (by menu item) in, say, MS Office, aren't popular or "successful". It's the bundle that gives the total value in the brand, which then funnels money through even just the most successful features. Google's features and rollouts don't even cost much or commit people to much ownership or even brand association. It just makes Google more than searching, so is a more persistent feature of the landscape.

    Google owns the "Web" app bra
  • They meantion three systems, Google IM, Google Checkout, and Google Spreadsheets.

    First off Who said Google IM was going to take down Yahoo And AIM? The news papers.

    Google Checkout? Who said it would take down Ebay? The news.

    Who said Google Spreadsheets will take down Excel? The news.

    What are all three actually? An option. So why haven't all three taken over the world? People have yet to try the option.

    Personally I jumped on Google maps, and Gmail early and often. At the same time though if you alw
  • From TFA summary:

    BusinessWeek has just such an article ("So much fanfare, so few hits") but others argue that success relative to the size of Google's bread-and-butter (search) ultimately doesn't matter because it doesn't cost Google much extra to keep these secondary services -- like Gmail -- operational:

    This shows about as deep a misunderstanding of Google as it's possible to have. (The article itself also shows signs of the same fallacy.)

    Google is an advertising company - period. Each and ever

  • It's doubtful but yet did the article mention how Microsoft has lost over $8 billion on WindowsCE/PocketPC/newNameHere? Add to that the billions lost so far on Xbox, MS Bob, MSN.com, MSNBC.com, MS TabletPC, etc and you realize the story should be about Microsoft and how they've not made any money off anything but the MS Windows OS and MS Office on the PC.

    TFA wouldn't load( /.'ed? ) but I'll try again to see what the heck they are talking about. IMO, Google seems to be bringing in the bucks pretty consistant
  • by winomonkey (983062) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @02:55PM (#15928772)
    People will rail against the "spreading thin" of Google as they offer a wider variety of services. Dozens of failed or mediocre offerings, oh my. If we look at certain other fields where the drive is to innovate and create a new and powerful product we find similar, if not significantly worse, failure rates. The medical and pharmaceutical industries are full of failures and high R&D costs. However, when they get their one single success it provides a level of value that will support them to their next great hit.

    Google is doing the right thing in two ways here - they are allowing their developers to think and work on their own pet projects, which will ensure retention of some of the best and brightest, and they are understanding that for every brilliant idea there will be a string of failures. If they spend one billion on R&D (made that number up for the sake of argument), drop 999 products that aren't winners and get one single product that becomes a 6-billion-a-year success, they will have done the best thing for their investors, for their developers, and for their own continued growth.

I go on working for the same reason a hen goes on laying eggs. -- H.L. Mencken

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