A good sign: Google drops its Answers project

A good sign: Google drops its Answers project

Summary: Google has dropped its Google Answers experiment and it's a positive development. Why?

TOPICS: Google

Google has dropped its Google Answers experiment and it's a positive development.

Why? It shows the company can cut its losses on a project that may not be delivering--a critical skill for all companies. Cutting losses is a cog in solid project management.

For a company like Google that has numerous experiments running at once the ability to cut losses is critical. If Google doesn't it gets spread too thin and distracted.  As SearchEngine Watch notes, Google appears to be admitting defeat to Yahoo Answers. But is failure really so bad? Failure--even if it is a high-profile one--isn't a bad thing as long as you acknowledge it, learn and move on. After all, Google Answers had little chance given Yahoo put its weight behind its Answers service. Donna Bogatin details why Yahoo Answers routs Google's version.

"Google is a company fueled by innovation, which to us means trying lots of new things all the time -- and sometimes it means reconsidering our goals for a product," the company says on its corporate blog.

In other words, Google can refocus its efforts on winning projects.

Google says Google Answers "started with a rough idea from Larry Page, and a small 4-person team turned it into reality in less than 4 months. For two new grads, it was a crash course in building a scalable product, responding to customer requests, and discovering what questions are on people's minds."

In the end, Google says Google Answers was "a great experiment which provided us with a lot of material for developing future products to serve our users." In other words, don't be surprised if some part of Google Answers resurfaces elsewhere.

Topic: Google

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  • Yes, that is part of building a great company, you should NOT punish

    people for each and every failure. If you do, you get people that will stick with failed projects at all costs, that drag the company down. And, so what if one group got assigned to do something that in the end did not work out? This is part of the process of figuring out what works. If it was all so obvious, we could all open companies, do the right things and all be millionairs.

    Notice this is the attack in general with web applications that Google is taking. They are going to be trying a lot of different things and not worry about the failures. Those afraid of failures will not figure it out.
    • True, MS has done it for years

      And they seem to be doing just fine.
      • Right, they even figured out that breaking the law works, no limits on what

        MS will try.
        • Or Google?

          My guess would be that now since Google is large enough, they would have no issues with breaking the law, as haven't most here said that ALL large companies care for nothing but profit, and why should silly laws stand in their way of making more profits?
          John Zern
          • Guess all you like.

            With Microsoft they did break the law. With Google, it's Microsoft's and their shill supporter?s wet dream that Google drops out of sight so Microsoft can once again rape and pillage without fear of the sheriff or competition.
  • Get used to it, you'll see more...

    Gonna see more "cancellations" from GOOG. It has many such "projects" that are novelties for a while, then lose their public cache' as that wears off and people realize they have little lasting value beyond the ooooh and ahhh factor. The real question, which wasn't asked, isn't that it was good to see that GOOG knows how to make a cut...but "did they do it soon enough? or did they wait too long?" IMO, Answers failed many, many months ago. I don't consider it good PM that it took until now to see it canned. Nice spin though...there are alot of folks out there who will buy more GOOG when they should be selling.
  • Google too thin

    I think Google is getting thin already.

    Does anyone have a web site? Look at your stats for it. How many times does googlebot visit it compared to other search bots? Have you noticed many more dead or obsolete pages turning up in your Google searches over the last couple of years? Is almost every second search result an eBay entry?

    It doesn't matter how many pages you scan if it isn't often enough! Is Google straying too much from its core business?
  • Google a Good News/Bad News story

    Testing new products - then dropping the unprofitable or unsuccessful ones is indeed a hallmark of a well-run company. McDonalds is a prime example of a company willing to try new ventures. Some, like 'Leaps & Bounds' disappear but the information learned is used to create 'PlayPlaces' for their restaurants. Others, like Chipotle, become successful on their own. Google was wise to drop their unprofitable venture.
    However, Google is rapidly shooting itself in the foot with SPADS - my term for SPAM ADS. On any given Google search, ads pop up on the right screen that have absolutely NOTHING to do with the original search, but are ads that try to sell whatever the seller has. I got a laugh when I did a Google search for 'human remains' and the SPADS popped up with phrases like, 'best selection of human remains,' or 'lowest Internet prices for human remains.' No matter what word(s) you search for, someone tries to push a nuisance ad to you through Google. And THAT may be the thing that does the most damage long-term to Google's core business.
  • RE: A good sign: Google drops its Answers project

    leave it to google. But you have to give it to them they have a whole colletion of amazing products out there already.