Is Google Overextending Itself?

Link – Has Google Peaked? – via Jeremy Bartley

For a company that depends so much on a single type of revenue, Google has stretched itself awfully thin. In the last two years, the company has released a dizzying array of products: Gmail, the Google Toolbar, Google Maps, Google Earth, Google Blog search, and an instant messaging/Internet phone service called Google Talk. There’s also the Google Print Library Project (a plan to scan and make searchable the contents of entire libraries), a video search engine that’s in beta testing, and a recent bid to provide free Wi-Fi to all of San Francisco. Things are so frantic at corporate headquarters, a Google PR rep recently told me, that he didn’t have time to answer questions; he did ask if I knew of anyone who wanted a PR job. As Search Engine Watch editor Danny Sullivan puts it, the fact that Google is getting into everything means that they run the risk of not doing some things well. If Google had invested more in blog search over the last few years, for example, it could have controlled the industry rather than playing catchup.

I think we are beginning to see signs that Google is starting to sag under its own weight. If anyone has given Google’s new RSS Reader a spin can tell that it should have never seen the light of day. In the rush to be all things to everyone, they are starting miss the little things that people notice. I have been a big supporter of using Google Earth as an GIS viewer, but given the data shift issues, I’m starting to rethink that position. Of course some of this is backlash against Google, much like we’ve seen aimed at Microsoft and Apple, but if one is to rely on these products one needs to hold Google accountable. The words “beta” and “free” don’t absolve them from mistakes and poor product decisions.

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