Google’s Power of Presentation

28 Comments

The big buzz today at Web 2.0 Expo is this new PowerPoint-type application that Google is going to announce sometime later this summer. It would seem that Google suddenly solved the global warming crisis.

Am I alone in wondering why Google, a company with more neurosterone (my term for ‘smart hormones + wallet muscle’) than any other Internet company in history, would waste its resources buying a start-up like Tonic Systems to roll out a product which is, at best, a faded, web-age facsimile of Powerpoint? Lets just hope the in-house geniuses are working on something (else) ultra-spectacular.

(Okay, I know there are more uses for Tonic’s document extraction technology, but they are talking about presentations on the Google blog, so we are going to stay focused on just that!)

28 Comments

Pali Madra

Time needs to be given to Google to develop their services. I think the world is expecting too much from Google too soon and do not forget what Google is trying to achieve, it is trying to change habits of people and that takes a lot of time. A company like Kellogs has estimated that it would take them 25 years to be profit making in a country like India where people have been having wheat bread in breakfast since ages.

I think the team at Google is very smart and because of some purchase it should not be said that their plans are going to go bust. I’m sure there is lot of commotion in Microsoft because of this latest development.

jonah

When you have as much money as Google does, you do EVERYTHING. And 99% of it will be losers.

Laura Glynn

Good Point, Brian! The 60s and 80s had “free love” and this generation has “free information”.

Brian

Laura – totally agree with you but the bigger question is this – does Generation Next care?

Good post…

Brian

Nick Hawkins

I like Google. They make good products (Gmail, Gcal), bought other good ones (Keyhole/Google Earth and Picasa). I’m not sure about Google Office. Sure, it’s neat, but after about 20 minutes of playing with it, I left it at that. It’s cool, but…

I don’t understand at what market Google Office would be aimed at. The workplace? The home? If I buy a PC from a big box vendor or even Apple, it comes with a rudimentary word processor.

I’d like to see some actual usage stats from Google on who actually uses it. We can take that and compare it against all the other office suites out there (MS, OO, etc).

Laura Glynn

gmail, googleoffice, googe desktop, analytics…It’s all free but at what price? Granting Google access to any and all of your content? Google is great and easy to use but don’t use it for anything you would like to keep private. See terms of service…

http://www.google.com/google-d-s/terms.html
Your Rights

“…By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through Google services which are intended to be available to the members of the public, you grant Google a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce, adapt, modify, publish and distribute such Content on Google services for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting Google services. Google reserves the right to syndicate Content submitted, posted or displayed by you on or through Google services and use that Content in connection with any service offered by Google. Google furthermore reserves the right to refuse to accept, post, display or transmit any Content in its sole discretion…”

Richard Hamilton

I have a suspicion that Google Office is not about “beating” or even “misleading” Microsoft. It is about serving a different user group then Microsoft currently targets. The next billion PC users who will be buying $100 PCs aren’t going to shell out for MS Office. How will they do the things most of us take for granted with these low-cost, Wimax-enabled terminals? Maybe they will use OpenOffice. Or, maybe they will find it simpler to use Web 2.0 style web apps. I think this is what Google — and other companies in the Web 2.0 arena — are betting on. These low-ARPU customers (whether garage-dwelling or developing-world) will create community groups and small businesses, and do amazing things to unleash all the creativity that is not being tapped into today. They will find these, to us high-ARPU types, sub-standard web apps to be useful tools for sharing visions, calculating bottom-lines and, yes, even making sales pitches. And when they grow up and become successful, bigger, maybe even global companies, they may never see the point of desktop application suites and huge licensing fees. It’s a gamble on being an ASP for high volume, low margin business — not where Microsoft plays today.

Anonymous

Google confuses people.

1.6B for You Tube, 3.1B for DoubleClick
and Google Office???

Maybe their strategy is to make this WWW world even more complex, and then try to sort it out by Google Search, make money via Ads. Seems sleazy tactics.

As Nick points out – Who is using it?

Kevin

During the past 18 or so months, Google has been primarily focused on acquiring other companies, instead of growing organically. As Om said, Google has mega, dare I say giga, neurosterone (I really like this term).

So why do it? I can only think of one example where acquisition made sense to me–the acquisition of Youtube. I can support the decision because you are buying a customer-/user-base more than a technology. Developing a slideshow presentation web app seems like it should be a trivial matter for Google.

What really concerns me about this practice is the killer apps that made Google huge, e.g., search, gmail, ads, were internal creations. Gcal is one of my favorite Google apps, but not because it is great (it is good, not great) but because I expect it to become something incredible. I’m afraid Google is trying to grow for the sake of growth but not to accomplishing something.

saran

‘Google buys cute things’ because they are not Technology Company, their R&D investment says lot. They are advertising agency, bought doubeclick and now their 99%+ of income comes from ad.revenue.

Google buying daggie bags to take the leftover ads (in enterprise space) and would round up into 100%. Google you already reached monopoly status…

By 2011, Google’s ad revenue would reach minimum 45% of total US.advertisement revenue. if a company controls 25% or more in a particular industry, monopoly comes by default.

BTW Google what’s next? ‘Cookie fraud’ or Twitter?

Kind rgrds
saran

MS

Even though powerpoint may seem like an older technology, but Google does have to worry about the intertia that it carries. It is heavily used and will be for some time and they had to get this one right therefore.

AbsolutTommy

I find it funny when propose that Google came up with this product just to keep Microsoft “guessing” and cause them to “mis-allocate resources”

Wouldn’t allocating resources to the task of creating a new application be the ultimate mis-allocation of resources if your entire goal was to mislead another company. That sounds like the most expensive April Fool’s joke ever. I’m quite sure that whatever it costs Microsoft to update its software costs Google several times more to create from scratch.

If you agree with that, I think the real reason is the obvious one: Google is going after the small businesses who don’t have the big bucks for real software packages. I can’t see financial institutions or insurance companies using this software, rather the target user is the grad student working in his garage on the “next big thing” and subsisting on a diet solely composed of ramen.

Who knows, there might be enough of the little guys to add up to a nice little business. At least enough revenue to justify improving the product until one day when it is of enterprise quality.

Rick

I have to agree with Methegeek. These applications for the web will be mainstream in 5 to 10 years. Very powerful stuff. Centralized storage. Mobility. Collaboration. Internet is replacing the LAN. Google will be the administrator of our software in the future. Beats Microsoft!

MeTheGeek

Om,

I thought you where a journalist. Are you a developer too? A software firm CEO perhaps?

How can you question the expending, and how do you know it is a waste, if no numbers have been disclosed?

What do you know about Tonic Systems and the value of their work?

You obviously do not know how much work and TIME it takes to build good software, and it baffles me you are missing the value of time in the competition Google is getting into.

Ken Beegle

From a pure product benefit perspective, Google’s apps (docs, spreadsheet, and now presentation) can be centered around sharing them and editing them with multiple people. By their nature presentations are for sharing with other people and there is probably a fair bit of money to be earned doing so.

From a strategy perspective, a Google office suite (even if a far lesser product) causes customers to question the cost of Microsoft’s Office suite. This will create more friction within Microsoft causing them to mis-allocate resources and be slower to compete. Google’s strategy appears to be about tempo, they are able to create, continuously modify, and if necessary destroy products faster than competitors. They are likely to see and act on opportunities faster than the competition while appearing unpredictable.

Andy Beal

Same reason they out-bid MSFT for DoubleClick, to keep the Redmond company guessing. When Google is coming at you from all sides, it’s hard to determine which is the real threat, and which is the smokescreen.

Peter Brockmann

It’s a poke in Bill Gates’ eye. That’s why they feel compelled to do this. You’d think making $$$ would be payback enough eh?

— P

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