Google Stops Offering New Services, and May Buy YouTube

A big news day for Google. First of all the company backs off new products to focus on adding features to existing ones.

Co-founder Sergey Brin is leading a companywide initiative called "Features, not products." He said the campaign started this summer when Google executives realized that myriad product releases were confusing their users.

"It's worse than that," said Brin, Google's president of technology. "It's that I was getting lost in the sheer volume of the products that we were releasing."

Analysts said Google was fighting a problem that had historically plagued technology giants, many of which became so enamored with innovating that they forgot to create products that people would really use.

"They created a bunch of crap that they have no idea what to do with," Rob Enderle, principal analyst with Enderle Group, a Silicon Valley consulting firm, said of Google. "What a huge waste of resources."

Google admitted this year that its internal audits discovered that the company had been spending too much time on new services to the detriment of its core search engine.

Regular readers of this site new this was coming, as I blogged about Swarm Theory, Corporate Strategy, and Google's Demise back in early July. Of course, Google is hardly on the verge of "demise" but the larger point of that post is coming true – they are straying too far from the core.

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In other news, WSJ reports that

  • It’s the bain of success that you can have “more money than good sense.” But as a commenter to your link post said correctly “A riskier strategy would be to stand still and do nothing.” So again we find ouselves looking for leaders who can find the line between enough innovation and too much or too many new ideas.

  • It seems to me that the problem is not the dispersed focus; it’s healthy to try to keep coming up with new ideas to transform our online experience.

    The problem lies in launching too many things too soon. I just started using Google Notepad, for example, which is a great tool. But many of the other Google apps that are available in “beta” versions would be best kept to themselves until the kinks are worked out.

    Why not have a group of “invite-only” beta users that help work out the bugs? You get happy innovators and better apps.

    Search can always be improved, but there are a lot of other dimensions to the online experience that have yet to be taken advantage of.

    Would be great if Google would launch a better version of Squidoo or MySpace, for example.