There have been a fair number of posts lately floating around talking about how Google can’t innovate or how they are missing a cohesive product strategy. There’s a lot of worry that Google is just too big to innovate quickly and it’s causing some Googlers to jump ship to Facebook.
Here’s the thing, though: Google doesn’t have an innovation problem. They’ve created an environment where products roll out every day and amaze everyone. Take just this week. It’s only Wednesday and Google has already done tons of great stuff.
Stuff Google did this week
- Launched Google Art Project
- Did an amazing redesign of Google Docs
- Merged Google HotPot into search results
- Proved that Bing is stealing search results
- Added auto location checkins to Google Latitude
- Introduced speak to tweet to help Egyptians get reports online.
Of course, they’re slated to do their official announcement of HoneyComb (their tablet Android OS) today and will probably announce a bunch more stuff.
It occurred to me that one of the reasons people think Google has a problem is because of the chaos of products launching and dying all the time. That kind of non-product-aligned approach has most people baffled. Apple is very careful about the products they launch and that’s the way most companies work (with the exception that Apple is better at it than anyone else).
Google, on the other hand, has created a crazy environment where everyone is churning out stuff all the time. It’s like a hacker’s paradise! Google Labs is always bustling with cool new features (desktop notifications and favicon notifications for Gmail just last week.)
This is skirmish warfare
Everything has sped up with the internet. Everything moves so fast that innovation has to move even faster. Companies that clamp down on product strategies can quickly find themselves left behind. Google’s approach of just setting up an environment for people to make their products successful and encourage innovation may look like chaos, but it’s really the only strategy that makes sense anymore.