Despite how the 1000s of amazing and brilliant people they have, Google really have not done anything innovative in years and years. They might tweak their algorithms but they are still an ad company with a search engine. That’s what has made them the megabucks and allowed them to buy into being ad partners with mySpace and AOL and to buy YouTube.
They’ve branched out and bought radio ad companies and are even trying to serve ads to cable customers but frankly have so far made no impact at all. (While this was in draft they announced a deal with radio monopoly Clearchannel.) Blogger/Blogspot is a total piece of shit and is full to the brim with spam (77% of all blogs on Googleâ€™s Blogspot service were spam) and yet they do nothing about it. As was pointed out, WordPress.com seems to be quite spam free, possibly because they don’t allow ads.
It seems Google can’t keep the people they bought in through various acquisitions with the blogger people leaving, the dMarc people and most recently the Dodgeball founders left while making a scathing statement about Google as they did.
I’m still a big fan of Google but it seems nowadays they are doing nothing more than adding new coats of paints to their service, more than doing anything fantastic. Big company disease as Robert Scoble points out. Fred Wilson makes a very valid (and sad) point.
Google’s lawyers are going to become their most important asset and when lawyers are more important than engineers to a company, you lose.
Are Google just a one-hit wonder who are still gaining because of the long-tail? Are they already at the nadir of innovation? Video search is still shite unless you tag, as in audio. 10 years later and Google has not nearly tackled this. Maybe their freephone directory service will allow them gather enough voice samples so that they’ll be able to tackle audio. I’m actually a fan of Google but more and more they are looking just like Microsoft and other big tech corporations. I wonder does that scare the shit out of them because what it means is they’ll be out-Googled themselves some day. Perhaps they should split the company into a Search/SearchR&D company and an ad/content creation company.
Update: John Ward in the comments puts it succintly:
Google is built around search working, googleâ€™s revenue model is built around search not working.