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Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Over the last couple of years the only times Google bothered spending significant effort at doing anything new was when they felt they existence was threatened. They made Google+ because they were afraid of Facebook, and Android because they were afraid of Apple. In both cases execution was poor to put it mildly. Google's strategy was not even to create great products - it was to make good enough products and to be there when Apple or Facebook screws up somehow.
In Android's case, it might even work since Apple prioritizes profits over market share, so Android was given low and mid end markets without much fight, and other companies like Samsung are doing much better job at competing with Apple at high end than Google ever did.
In case of Google+, the odds look much worse. Not only it is still losing in popularity, it is becoming actively worse for microblogging with each iteration. Even if Facebook ended up screwing up bad enough to cause mass exodus, it's not so clear Google+ would be where the masses would go.
And whenever Google doesn't feel existentially threatened, its mode of operation recently has been forcing horrible UI at users (Google+, Youtube, now Gmail), forcing Google+ integration and its horrible "real name policy" (Youtube), crippling them (Google Reader, Google Talk), or shutting them down outright (Google Reader again).
What was the last time you've heard any good news from Google? It was awesome once. They kept releasing great new things one after another. Now just about any time Google does anything is to make something actively worse.
Today they completely screwed Gmail usability for writing email. Now instead of being able to focus on what you write there's extremely distracting visual clutter everywhere. I'm sure some browser extension to hide all that crap is going to come sometimes soon, making Gmail not horrible again.
The problem is not this horrible decision or another. The problem is that every decision Google makes these days is like that.
Google became the new Yahoo. Could someone become the new Google please? Amazon?