Here’s a prediction: If Yahoo and Microsoft are constantly watching Google they’re going to have such a narrow view that they’ll get sideswiped by something or someone else charging in from the peripherals..
Via Philipp Lenssen is a Kevin Forde piece about how silly Yahoo is getting about Google. Erecting statues which take swipes at GMail? Jeez. At the same time we have Scoble in chair throwing mood ranting about Google and disruption.
Disruption to me means causing chaos and upset for malicious reasons Disruption is coming into a room and setting off firecrackers. Google wouldn’t do that, they’d come in and give people more comfortable chairs, better lighting and maybe add some soothing mood music so that whatever people did in the room, they could do it better by being more comfortable.
I suppose calling it disruption is good. Disrupting a meeting, disrupting a cosy cartel. The whole idea of freedom fighters and terrorists. All depends who is doing the PR.
GMail disrupted the world of YahooMail and Hotmail? Nah uh. Google didn’t disrupt, they made a better and more appealing product. They made email simple again. They made it less stressful with a clean interface. They respected their customers and used all their abilities to give them something the customers appreciated. Just like they did for search and everything else.
Google didn’t disrupt a market, they showed the consumers in the market a better product. They removed thea status-quo, the old boys club, the monopoly or the duopoly. Look how much market share Hotmail and YahooMail had before GMail and now look at it. They both had years of experience before Google came about but they could care less about making improvements. They saw their customers as burdensome I bet. Now they call Google a disruptor.
Along came Google and the only “new” thing they did was give people mail that was easy to use and hassle free. CSS isn’t new. AJAX isn’t new. Searching isn’t new. How the hell can you class that as disruptive? Disruptive is not the opposite of lazy but that’s what Scoble seems to think. Notice how GMail is improving over time too? Some improvements are under the hood and some are little extra bits. New “fudgies” as we’d say in Cork. Look back at Hotmail and YahooMail. Their improvements seemed to be more spam and a decrease in account size. Oh and let us not forget that they demanded payment to make using their email system easier. So Yahoo 2 years later decides they are now going to give their customers a better mail application. Eh, a bit late. And then they reward themselves with a bitchy statue. Wow, you guys rock at doing nothing more than catching-up.
Google don’t do everything right though. Their blog search is shite. Their RSS reader is also shite but they’re both simple and easy to use and don’t appear to be laden down with crud inherited by all those conferences where clueless marketing people pipe in.
If disrupting the market is making products better and easier to use so that customers don’t stress and can get on with other things, then it doesn’t say much about the existing vendors in the market. Scoble mentioned that Office “disrupted” Borland and Wordperfect and so on. I guess that’s how Borland saw it anyway. Anyone noticed anything spectacularly different or better from Word 97 and Word 2002? I wonder if Google asked some of its people to improve it, what would they do?
Scoble talks about Yahoo and Microsoft getting it on to disrupt Google. But the only people who can disrupt Google are Google. If they become lazy and bloated and Microsoft and Yahoo make something better and streamlined that takes customers, then Google can call “Disruption”. Easier to claim you were disrupted than you were lazy.
But let me end this rant with something nice about Microsoft. One thing from that tripping and falling on your ass press event Microsoft had this week was the new version of MSN Messenger. That could very much kick the shit out of GoogleTalk if what they demo’d (badly) works and instead of stopping to erect a statue they added more innovations and kept on making it better and better and better. Think Microsoft can do that?
I’d argue that Google are now too big to be truly disruptive. They have a cash cow to protect and share holders to keep happy, and what with all this excitement over “What Google will do next” people haven’t paid much attention to what Google have done already. Which in reality isn’t all that much.
I kind of get it why Ballmer & Gates fume over Google and the fawning press they receive. In this case Google doesn’t have any superior technology, which is rare for a target Microsoft has set their gun-sights on. Previous companies for the most part had better technology they just happened to be run by dorks who weren’t looking in the right direction when Ballmer & Butthead crept up behind them and hit them across the back of the head with a plank.