Looking back, Fall 2006 would be when Google transformed from a petulant tween to a responsible adult, behaving much like the establishment it once made fun of. Buying YouTube for $1.6 billion (mostly for traffic and reach in the video space) was company’s first BIG outside […]

Looking back, Fall 2006 would be when Google transformed from a petulant tween to a responsible adult, behaving much like the establishment it once made fun of.

Buying YouTube for $1.6 billion (mostly for traffic and reach in the video space) was company’s first BIG outside acquisition (of a product that competes with an existing Google offering), indicating the NIH syndrome is gone. There were some stern words from Sergey Brin who wants the company to stop mucking around with new projects and get things finished (aka usable.) LA Times reported Brin leading the charge on a project called “Features, not products.”

The growing maturity is reflected in the upgrades to some of its offerings. Take Google Reader – which launched mostly to boos. It rebooted, and has since found fans amongst the toughest of critics (including the most excellent Lifehacker .) Even Paul Kedroksy decided to be kind to them . Today the company announced Google Docs & Spreadsheets – a combo product mashed up from an acquisition (Writely) and a lab project. (Previously, Google Office, Some Clues.)

Even though the new product is getting mixed reviews (rightfully so, because there are some bugs in this offering,) one cannot deny the fact that it is infact immensely usable. I write this post using the service, and hopefully will be convinced to use it as my regular blogging tool. (There are several other options on the market, and we will be exploring them going forward, and post reviews of those apps, either here or on WWD.)

Some of the new features added to say, Google Talk, show that the company is taking all the criticism being thrown its way and channeling the feedback into improving its offerings. If Google Reader, Docs & Spreadsheets are any indication, then one should expect better versions of products in the near future. My bet would be an enhanced Google Finance channel, and Google News improvements to follow. What do you think?

PS: Google Office its almost ready: GCal, GMail, Docs & Spreadsheets and Chat. What’s missing – a database app and slide show app.

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  1. What do you mean by “first outside acquisition”? Google has acquired a tonne of companies, surely.


  2. “Buying YouTube […] was company’s first outside acquisition, indicating the NIH syndrome is gone.”

    First outside acquistion ?? Well, I guess that Picasa, writely, keyhole and the others (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ListofacquisitionsbyGoogle) where just details.

  3. For a database app, at least hosted by Google, they could modify Google Base. This way anything shared could be added to the public database automatically.

    If they ever get around to placing all of the ‘Office’ tools on an appliance this might take more effort to replicate. That’s the one thing I am waiting for Google releasing these to be deployed internal to an organization on an appliance.

    Tie this into their search engine and you not only have the productivity applications, which should tie into the online version. But you could also have a way for the search appliance to index and build the ‘SharePoint-ish’ document repository automatically

    If I recall correctly IBM sells a network-based Office suite based upon the old Smart Suite of products (to think I used to teach that…maybe I’m officially ‘old’ now).


  4. About time too. Google need to delivery useable software and not just flights of fantasy from the development community. Any more disasters such as the first version of Google Reader would surely knock Google’s credibility. They are on borrowed time and need to deliver quality products. “Features, not Products” says it all. Let’s hope this is indeed what they do.

  5. Hi Om,

    Are you still concerned about security? Would you use Google for Domains or Google Office for yourself or company? I believe you had doubts about Google Domains earlier in the year.


  6. The Google page creator could easily morph into a slide show app. If you go there now and substitute every mention of the word page with slide and add some of the usual objects used in presentations it would be enough for a labs release.

  7. Hey guys, sorry about missing BIG from the second para, first line. really lame on my part.

  8. I love Google, unlike the Microsoft, they listen to the customers and constantly improve. But I agree with Om that they don’t deviate from their original objectives. Cheers.

  9. Getting on the Office space is all fine, but will people make the change from MS-Office? In my opinion, developing new technology products/services is the easiest bit, getting people to switch is the tough part. Time only will tell.

  10. mixed feelings about this – is hardly ground-breaking stuff, is it? crikey, i was working on x-windows object-oriented distributed WYSIWYG office apps some 10yrs ago (the wonderful applix/aster*x/alis products) – also, this ‘new’ (sic) approach reminds me of the sun/oracle initiative from a few years back – sun/oracle obsessed rather too much, for too long re: microsoft – let them do what they do best (eg office apps, etc) and focus elsewhere, guys – or, are you already running out of ideas?

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