Google Consolidation

by Krishna on January 19, 2009

The nation’s economic troubles have not spared the Google juggernaut. Google is following the principle of “do it quickly and do it deep” by stopping further development on (and in some cases, stopping) Dodgeball, Jaiku, Google Video, Google Notebook, Google Catalogs and Google Mashup Editor. google

Of these services, Dodgeball and Jaiku were Google acquisitions that went nowhere. The Dodgeball founders quit last year in frustration over the lack of support from Google. Google Notebook was a very elementary application that seemed to have been cooked up over a weekend of coding. It coulda been a contender if someone had worked on integrating bookmarks, Google documents, blog posts and other works created by Google users. As it is, it is better off killed.

Google Mashup Editor was an online mashup creation service, similar to Yahoo! Pipes and Popfly. I had previously written about the potential of Mashup Editor, but it looks like no one seriously worked on adding more functionality to the product after that. As for Google Video, it seems that it will be relegated to the status of Google Image Search: a place for finding video, instead of for uploading new content. Many neutral Google watchers had predicted that Google Video would end up in its current situation. So the news is not surprising. What is surprising is how long Google waited to make this decision.

In other news, FeedBurner feeds are being converted to Google accounts. I did the transition today and didn’t notice much of a difference. A few link changes, the dashboard changed from a bar diagram to a line diagram and Google removed the website statistics section. Why Google allowed the FeedBurner web stats to remain even one day after the acquisition is simply amazing: By doing so, Google sabotaged their own excellent Analytics product.

In general, Google seems to have some clueless episodes in their acquisitions and new products. And even after these new changes, I still think they can do more. For example, why cannot they integrate Blogger, Google Pages, Google Sites and Google App Engine into a single product? Or why are Google Webmasters and Google Analytics two different products? Or Google Reader, Google Alerts and Gmail? Or Picasa Web Albums and Google Docs into a single Google Drive? Let me also note that Google Docs needs a product like Scribd to display and export documents.

Google is leaving a lot of money on the table by not monetizing many properties like Blogger, Google Reader and Google Docs effectively. Consider Blogger which used to have a paid version before it was acquired by Google. Now it doesn’t. Many serious bloggers would be willing to pay if they could get better features and services faster. It also defies reason that Google can run ads on Gmail, but not on Google Reader.

A leaner Google is good news for employees and shareholders, as it will be able to weather the recession in a stronger condition. But Google’s actions have shown that it does not seem to have a good handle on consolidating and monetizing the myriad products it spawns and acquires. It will be interesting to revisit this topic after a year, seeing what Google does in the slow economy.

[Image licensed from trevino]

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