I consider myself a very fussy internet user. I don’t like sites that don’t interest me and I don’t like to participate in social centric activities either. What I do appreciate though is when I find a site (either through a reference from @sahilparikh or through some divine luck), it becomes a mainstay for me and from there on, I focus my energies on trying to maximize its use.
Nobody can deny that Google (more than Apple and Facebook) is the most influential company on the internet. Not many people realize it but Google is a part of everyone’s daily life. More so than Facebook because it strives to provide essential services to its users. For me, Facebook is more of an entertainment channel that I use to disconnect from my overloaded work commitments. It actually amuses me to watch people display their lives online. A few months ago, I decided to clean my Facebook contacts. I had about 620 “friends”. By the time I finished, I had 580 “friends”. Of the 40 I deleted, 25 were dead accounts and the balance was just not worth it. Yet I kept the remaining 580 for sheer entertainment value. But I will keep the Facebook bashing for another day. Lets focus on Google.
My biggest peeve with Google, is not the type of services they offer, but the amount of services they offer. When I started using Google, all it was was a 6 letter word that would answer any question I threw at it. The site loaded fast, the results were quick and most importantly, close to accurate.
But then something happened.
Google decided to start something known as Google Labs. It was a place where Google geniuses could design anything they wanted. It was a technology Disneyland for the geeks of Silicon Valley and beyond. Through this project, Google had designed a ton of products (don’t ask how many coz I can’t find out anymore as it be deprecated) and had also commercially launched a few of them, other to completely bomb. For me, Google Wave was the worst innovation to come out of the lab and I pray never to be subjected to such a horrific ideas. But I am digressing.
So after much fanfare and the unexpected and exponential rise of Facebook threatening Google dominance, the Titans, Brin and Page felt Google Labs was a bad idea. It lacked direction and was a cash hungry animal. They felt Google needed focus and leadership. So sometime in 2011 under the auspices of Larry Page (CEO-2001 and again in 2011), Google Labs was shut down. Barring a few noteworthy applications, the rest were sent to garbage collection and we were left with the following:
THE HEADLINERS (not necessarily a Google labs product):
AND THE CRAP THAT COMES UNDER “MORE”
(I’m gonna skip showing logos for this one else I will never finish this post).
ORKUT, TRANSLATE, MOBILE, OFFERS, WALLET, SHOPPING, BLOGGER, READER, FINANCE, PHOTOS, VIDEOS, GOOGLE DRIVE
NOW MORE CRAP UNDER THE LINK “EVEN MORE“…WHAT????
SCHOLAR, ALERTS, BLOG SEARCH, CODE
After listing out these products, I feel like Lincoln Six Echo. Its evident the Google wants you to spend the rest of your life within Google and not out there. So i guess thats how you would feel if you lived in North Korea?
But the icing on the cake for me was when Google had the balls to launch Google+. This was the tipping point for me to realise that Google, who started off as a open and free organization was now becoming insular with monopolistic intentions. Most importantly, in an attempt to create disruptive software, they had started to build competition killing products.
Here are a few references:
Recently Launch Google Drive is a Direct competitor to Dropbox
Google Offers is nothing but Groupon
Wallet, an alternative to PayPal
Finance & Photos up against Yahoo!
Google docs, people think its competing with MS Office, but it actually killed OpenOffice
Google+…ahem, enough said.
Applications such as Dropbox and Wikipedia have always stuck to what they are good at. They have always tried to improve the experience for the user and never tried to copy or re-invent the wheel. Yahoo!, well is just Yahoo! Today Dropbox is the most admired and profitable company in Silicon Valley. Why? Because its simple. Sign Up, Get 2GB free online space,sign your friends and get more space and finally pay for additional space. This model cannot go wrong. But in Google, everything is too damn complicated. Especially when you have to drill down to MORE and EVEN MORE!!
Google is attempting to make the internet well into Google (as it was alleged that Facebook was doing the same). Google has always maintained that they are pro-liberation of the internet. Yet the attempt to provide all essential service under 1 umbrella is nothing short of monopolistic. And whats worse is that even though they advertise as everything being FREE, in reality the revenue generated through ads and search heads is what makes Google a $300 billion company.
With Google following this path, Facebook is bound to push back. Then Microsoft will feel left out so they will join in. Suddenly you will have 3 big companies offering similar services with different colors and clouding the judgement of the user. The Push and the Push-back will never end.
But before I end this post, I would like to offer a simple advise to my readers;
Never underestimate the outliers!