Google product hits and misses in 2006

Google touts that it does 'one thing really, really well': Search; Google is nevertheless determined to do many more things really, really well, and profitably.

Google proudly touts that it does “one thing really, really well”: Search, as I discuss in “Google’s ‘1 percent’.”

Google is nevertheless determined to do many more things really, really well, and profitably. Google CEO Eric Schmidt underscored at the Q3 earnings call:

the blizzard of new product launches, on precedent for our scale and confusing to almost everyone, seems to create new opportunities for us every day…The diversity of our approach is one of our strengths, and we intend to keep going… more great products.

In “Google Top Five: Googley things I admire” I commend Google for its tirelessness in wanting to “win” at everything. By its own acknowledgement, however, Google may be privileging quantity over quality.

Sergey Brin, Founder and President of Technology, discussed his new “features, not products” initiative at the Q3 call:

What we are concerned about is that if we continue to develop so many new individual products that are all their assorted silos, you will have to essentially search for our products before you can even use them. And then you will have to search before you can do a search, in many cases.

Instead what we're doing now is we are trying to create the horizontal functionality across a range of products, across media types and so forth… There's a whole set of initiatives that's now going on in the Company to make our product offerings simpler and more consistent for all of our users.

What did Google target in 2006? In “Google Top 12 in 2006” I present the Google Year in Review: Month by Month highlights of product, partnership and investment strategies.


Google Checkout: Miss to Date

In “Google Checkout: Free in 2007, still flawed” and “Google Checkout audit: Where are AdWords ‘badges’?” and “Google Checkout: $20 million AdWords pitch” I dissect the poor traction and performance of Google Checkout and put forth its lack of broad appeal to merchants:

There's no such thing as a free lunch,” and Google’s “free” Checkout is costly to merchants.

Google Apps For Your Domain: Prospective Hit via Enterprise Edition

In “Google battles Microsoft” and "Google Enterprise strategy: ‘Death to the hierarchy’" and “Google to Microsoft: Wolf in sheep’s clothing?” I analyze how Google CEO Eric Schmidt is determined to make the Google application cloud “something you'd use everyday in everyday life,” instead of Microsoft Office.

Google is readying its Enterprise, or “premium,” version of Google Apps for Your Domain for a 2007 Q1 rollout and is pitching its “massively scalable, cheap infrastructure” to thousands of executives around the world from corporate, government and not-for-profit organizations.

I personally witnessed the Google Enterprise pitch at the NYC Googleplex last month and can attest to Google’s commitment to fostering “death to the hierarchy,” the Microsoft desktop folder hierarchy.

Intuit QuickBooks Enhanced By Google: Neutral to Date

In “Done Deal: Google partners with Intuit QuickBooks for $120 billion SME ad spend” I present Google’s rationale:

CEO Schmidt is eager to turn millions of SMEs (small and medium enterprises) on to the Google AdWords machine but has been unable to crack the hard to reach local and small business markets; QuickBooks 2007 will provide a direct sales route to SMEs.

In “Google QuickBooks 2007: Death of Yellow Pages, local newspapers?” I analyze the uphill battle Google continues to face:

AdWords may be a Google money machine, but hundreds of thousands of businesses world wide is not an impressive penetration of the world wide advertising market and Google’s QuickBooks 2007 is not setting itself up as a vehicle which will radically improve Google’s low rate of small business adoption.

At the end of the Google day, QuickBooks may even prove to be Google’s third strike in its small business market at bat.

Google Alliance with British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB): Prospective Hit Worldwide

In “Google: The TV Sky’s the limit?” and “Google targets every country, every operator” I analyze how Google took its first direct aim at TV advertising overseas, in a sweeping multi-year, video, communications, search and advertising strategic alliance with BSkyB.

The alliance starts with a straight-forward technology and search deal, with Google powering 1) a User Generated Video multi-platform portal for BSkyB, 2) a “communications platform” (customized email, instant messaging, calendaring…) for BSkyB broadband customers and 3) search and search advertising for BSkyB online.

True to Google’s worldwide technology and advertising domination form, however, much more is in the works: The two companies will also explore future forms of Web, TV and mobile advertising.

Schmidt underscored the prospective future, worldwide ramifications for Google:

If we can get this structure right over the next few months and it rolls out, then it becomes the index case for every other country and every other operator.





GOOGLE TOP 12 in 2006