October 06, 2006

Google Says: Features, Not Products

Over the last year, it has been well-chronicled that Google has spawned a wide variety of new products, many emerging from their engineers' 20% flex time to work on projects outside of their core focus. But as the new products have gained press attention and passing interest from users, they haven't vaulted to take the #1 spot in market share, as their search platform has. Instead, they've contributed to added confusion over what initially was a very simple company that took a lot of credit for its spartan design and laser-like focus.

Now, it looks like the rumblings of discontent are being heard in the glass house that is Google. The LA Times reports that Co-founder Sergey Brin is promoting an initiative called "Features, not products", where engineers are encouraged to make products that are already released best of breed, rather than introducing an increasing amount of diversity that has already seen the development of more than 50 Google-branded offerings.

For some, this is seen as a sign of maturity, that the company is moving beyond it's dramatic startup phase, and more to being a full-fledged industry leader. But on the flip side, it's not as if Microsoft has reduced its product array and focused on features, and Apple, while initially focusing on a famous quadrant of four hardware products for professional and consumer, laptop and desktop, now has expanded into the consumer gadgets arena. This indicates that established companies do see product creep, but the baseline must first be set, and at least for Google, that time to do so is now.

In other Google news, the biggest rumor of the day is that Google is in talks to purchase online video giant YouTube for the staggering price of $1.6 billion. That unlikely consolidation would be a market shaker, but I don't know that Google wants to acquire a headache - one that would be guaranteed once slighted copyright owners determine they want a piece of Google's massive cash pile. YouTube is a great resource for copyrighted material, and has become the Napster of video. Right now, they don't have enough cash to shake down. Google would change all that.

Listening to ''True (Vocal)'', by John Digweed (Play Count: 5)

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