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Google's Crazy Lack of Focus: Is It Really Serious About Enterprise? 226

Posted by Soulskill
from the looking-for-ways-to-put-ads-in-your-brain dept.
curtwoodward writes "Driverless cars. Balloon-based wireless networks. Face-mounted computers. Gigabit broadband networks. In recent months, Google has been unveiling a series of transformative side projects that paint a picture of the search pioneer expanding far beyond an online advertising company. At the same time, Google has been trying to convince enterprise software buyers that it's finally, really, truly serious about competing with Microsoft for their business. Which version of Google's future should you believe?"
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Google's Crazy Lack of Focus: Is It Really Serious About Enterprise?

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  • All of them. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CRC'99 (96526) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @05:24AM (#44047643) Homepage

    There is no real reason why Google can't do all of these things. Their core market is information. Gathering information. Processing information. Sorting and utilising information.

    Once you're good at this, it isn't hard to expand into various uses for that information.

    • Re:All of them. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Cenan (1892902) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @05:29AM (#44047665)

      There is no real reason why Google can't do all of these things

      Except closing down projects that don't meet arbitrary internal goals without warning. Nobody is going to trust Google with enterprisey stuff, since they can't seem to hold focus long enough for people to actually build an infrastructure around their offerings. When the next new thing comes along, guess which balloon side project gets canned, for no reason, with no warning, leaving countless gimps clamoring for an alternative that is nowhere to be found.

      They might be all about processing information, but they can't seem to actually monetize this beyond shoving ads in their users faces.

      • Re:All of them. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @05:45AM (#44047731)

        They have a pretty good migration shedule, sure, they "close" stuff without warning, but they give you plenty of time to get your data out. And most things that they close are not as popular as some of the users believe they are.

        Since there is no alternative to be found, you also suggest that their producs are often either way better than the competition or really in niche markets. You can't really force them to keep running losing products, certainly not if they do not contribute to their core information gathering strategy. Youtube ran losses for a while, but it worked well with what they had.

        Also, while ads certainly are their biggest feature, they have quite a few other products that either manage to substantially offset their costs or give profits.
        Further on, it is also possible that contrary to what the title suggests, google really is focussed and all their products have something to do with the information gathering and processing that seems to be their core. And that does seem true. The fiber they roll out is because they want the internet to become faster, because nearly all of their business is on the internet, for android they want a better online mobile experience and have an ad market there. Chrome tries to improve the browser world to ensure they can get the informationt they need. Balloon wireless service just the same. Google knows that once the third world gets a bit of money, they will be looking to buy stuff like a washing machine, which they want to be the one showing the ad for. I am not sure I can fit the driveless car anywhere in the picture, but probably they don't want you to go offline during commute, they want you to be able to see their ads, especially since you will be near stores that do the advertising.

        • Driverless Car - Surfing the internet and looking at Google Ads while *not* driving.
        • Re:All of them. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @09:37AM (#44048957)

          They have a pretty good migration schedule

          Yeah - for your PERSONAL stuff that takes you 20 minutes to migrate or backup.

          You've clearly never managed an enterprise software product. The entire point of enterprise software is that it affords deep integration into your workflows and internal processes and systems throughout the company.

          "We're closing this down in 6 months" is barely enough time to plan a migration, much less actually PERFORM the migration. And that's the point: if Google wants BUSINESSES to trust that Google isn't going to pull the rug out from under them, then Google needs to start taking migrations and end-of-life's seriously.

          It's fine if they want to be a consumer advertising company, and don't want the enterprise business. But the entire article is based on the premise that Google wants this "Enterprise" business.

          they have quite a few other products that either manage to substantially offset their costs or give profits.

          No, they really don't. 95+% of their revenues are generated by advertising. They make virtually NO money from any source that is not advertising. Go look at their financial statements.

          • by Daetrin (576516)

            they have quite a few other products that either manage to substantially offset their costs or give profits.

            No, they really don't. 95+% of their revenues are generated by advertising. They make virtually NO money from any source that is not advertising. Go look at their financial statements.

            I agree with most of the rest of the stuff you said, however there's absolutely no discrepancy between "they have many products that are close to breaking even or even make a profit" and "95% of their revenue is from a single product."

            Given exactly how much they make from ads it's not surprising that their other areas may not seem competitive. However that does not mean a priori that there is no reason to continue those ventures. Sure, a profit of $100 million from [insert product here] might not seem lik

        • Re:All of them. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by serviscope_minor (664417) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @09:48AM (#44049065) Journal

          And most things that they close are not as popular as some of the users believe they are.

          That doesn't matter. Apart from the most major services, things often get shut down. That means that new google services are not trustworthy, and you have to expect them to go. If that's the case, why bother wasting time on using their infrastructure if you're moderately sure you'll have to end up rebuilding it yourself anyway.

          You can't really force them to keep running losing products,

          No one is forcing google to do anything, but they also cannot force people to use their products. If they have the reputation for new things not being a trustworthy provider (they do have that reputation) then they will not garner new users and will not get the associated revenue.

          They also seme to love upgrades which improve shinyness but do little else (gmail, google docs^Wdrive, google maps, etc). It's their service and they're giving it away for free, but I need a very compelling case to buy any of the professional google services because of my experience of their free services.

          • Re:All of them. (Score:4, Insightful)

            by steelfood (895457) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @12:41PM (#44051213)

            It's their service and they're giving it away for free

            Except, they're taking this exact same mentality to the enterprise world too. Only, the enterprise market pays for the services; it's not free. And in the enterprise, there's one and only one thing that matters: stability.

            This mentality does not fly for enterprises. Making significant changes every few months, terminating all support for deprecated services under 2 years (by support, I mean the actual service itself), releasing their "beta" products to a production environment and hoping nobody'd notice the bugs.

            Just remember that IBM is still supporting their mainframes from the 1970's (albeit for a price). Note that Microsoft Office 2012 will run VBA code from Office 97. That's enterprise support. Support for XP will last 13(!) years, and enterprises will still use it for another 10. Enterprises manage change in 10-20 year timeframes, not the .5-2 that Google likes and insists everyone else follow.

            Google's the antithesis of what enterprises want and need. If they didn't practically have a monopoly in certain areas, if they weren't the most reliable vendor by far for certain services, nobody'd touch them with a 10ft pole.

        • All fine and good if your business runs nimble enough to handle this. But Enterprise class is software for the slow lumbering business where it would take Months or years for the people who needs to know to migrate off the system to actually know about it. Then they will need to setup a migration team and find an alternate products and all a bunch of other nonsense.

          Enterprise software usually Sucks Majorly. But it sucks consistently, and that is why they buy it.

        • by Rinikusu (28164)

          Driverless cars:

          DAN THE MAN
          Car, I'm hungry, what's around here?

          CAR
          Based on your browsing history, there is an all-you-can-eat chicken wings special at Top Girls Cabaret, 0.5 miles away. Shall I proceed to this destination?

          DAN THE MAN'S WIFE
          --Chicken Wings, eh?

          DAN THE MAN'S 5 YO DAUGHTER
          Daddy, what's a "cabaret?"

        • by swillden (191260)

          I am not sure I can fit the driveless car anywhere in the picture, but probably they don't want you to go offline during commute, they want you to be able to see their ads, especially since you will be near stores that do the advertising.

          Actually, I think the driverless cars are just really cool, world-changing tech that Sergey really wanted to work on. Google is a company of geeks, and while fitting everything into an overarching business strategy is a good idea, sometimes stuff is done just because it's awesome and no one else is doing it.

      • by jkflying (2190798)

        As far as I'm aware, they haven't done that with any enterprise stuff. And as for monetizing things besides using ads, AppEngine much? CloudSQL? Cell-tower Geo-location services?

        Google has no problem with paid apps when it is dealing with enterprise customers. It just seems that they'd rather not deal with extracting payments from personal consumers, letting their advertising customers do that for them.

      • by tuppe666 (904118) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @05:52AM (#44047751)

        Except closing down projects

        I have a bookshelf behind me with a whole host of dead languages, and products from Adobe and Microsoft that have been discontinued. Unsuccessful (and sometimes successful for strategic reasons) software will be discontinues, companies are trying to make money.

        FYI Googles Enterprise Apps doesn't get Ads...maybe you are thinking of Windows 8.

        • by kthreadd (1558445) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @06:28AM (#44047857)

          Well if you built your app with Visual Basic 6 then you're still supported. It has been discontinued, won't get new features. But it works, and will work for a while so that you have enough time to migrate to something newer such as Visual Basic .NET.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Well if you built your app with Visual Basic 6 then you're still supported. It has been discontinued, won't get new features.

            But if you built your app around Plays for Sure then you're out of luck.

            • But if you built your app around Plays for Sure then you're out of luck.

              Which is why the companies that used Plays for Sure were really upset.

          • If you call "that is a known bug" support, then you are right. Basic controls like radio buttons are not working on Windows XP. And they won't fix it.
            • by kthreadd (1558445)

              I'm not familiar with VB6 or XP. I just heard the sound of relief when it was announced that the VB6 runtime would be supported in Windows 8; so apparently it works at least good enough.

        • by gaspyy (514539)

          What discontinued Adobe product are you talking about? It's a serious question.
          They either transitioned the software (GoLive to Dreamweaver for example) or they still support it (Framemaker, Director).

          I can't think of any of their products that was abruptly discontinued without an upgrade path or support for quite a long time.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Errtu76 (776778)

        Indeed. Take for example my startpage iGoogle, which is now going to be abandoned. And they have the nerve to shut it down with only 1.5 years prior warning. Bastards.

        • by FooAtWFU (699187)
          What's worse than ending any particular product is mangling the Internet, like they did with the shutdown of Google Reader and with newsgroups.
          • by TyFoN (12980)

            Google shut down USENET? :)

            Or do you mean their interface to it?
            I can still read my groups in gnus..

            • by Richy_T (111409)

              Not that I know of. They did try and shoehorn their own google groups in alongside it though.

        • by Mashdar (876825)
          I still miss GOOG-411 :( And AFAIK that just disappeared one day.
      • by flyneye (84093) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @07:04AM (#44047969) Homepage

        Flip a coin, shut down a program and call the accountants to call it a loss on taxes. What's the problem here? Looks ordinary to me.
        Next up, the Google inflatable mate w/ bucking mechanism and heater, it makes it's own pr0n movies and uploads them to Redtube while you pump away.
        It collects customer data to recommend lube, toys or Viagra. It also has a government backdoor...

      • by Ash Vince (602485) *

        Except closing down projects that don't meet arbitrary internal goals without warning.

        Actually having a realistic number of users is not an arbitrary goal is it? They mostly seem to close down crap projects that nobody cared about.

      • by jythie (914043)
        I don't know, 'enterprisey' companies pull the same stunts often enough.
      • by prelelat (201821)

        That's a more than fair assessment of the situation though the subject of the article seems to suggest that this isn't the core problem with Enterprise adoption but that the fact they are over stretching into some strange projects. Frankly I don't think this is any different than Microsoft expanding into the video game, phone, tablet, and all the other things that they do. It's just that Google is cooler, newer fresher so they get a big chunk of media attention over it.

        My main concern with Google's produc

      • Except closing down projects that don't meet arbitrary internal goals without warning

        It's not always about shutting stuff down, you never know when you're going to wake up and gmail or whatever has a completely changed UI or something, for no apparent reason. You get to work and all your users are complaining.

        All enterprise companies have a huge 'customer investigation' arm, that goes out and talks with customers, finds out what their corporate customers want. That is the biggest difference between a B2B company and a consumer facing company. A B2B company won't make a randomly redesigned

    • Re:All of them. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Chrisq (894406) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @05:32AM (#44047675)
      Absolutely. There are historical precedents. Bell labs did things as diverse as writing Unix, inventing the transistor, and the construction of DNA machines [wikipedia.org].
    • except they closed reader :(

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by DerekLyons (302214)

      There is no real reason why Google can't do all of these things.

      From the enterprise users POV, the problem isn't necessarily Google's ability to do these things. (Though that is a huge question mark.) It's trusting Google to do these things. Google's history is littered with half ass projects of one kind or another... Some cancelled half complete, other left lingering in limbo and half complete for years. Of the products that are more-or-less complete and functional, the vast majority of them languish

      • by Ash Vince (602485) *

        There is no real reason why Google can't do all of these things.

        From the enterprise users POV, the problem isn't necessarily Google's ability to do these things. (Though that is a huge question mark.) It's trusting Google to do these things. Google's history is littered with half ass projects of one kind or another... Some cancelled half complete, other left lingering in limbo and half complete for years. Of the products that are more-or-less complete and functional, the vast majority of them languish for months between bizarre and incomprehensible "upgrades".

        This history does not lead to confidence in the customer that they can build a business around Google's offerings.

        Can you name one example of them doing this too an app thats was aimed at enterprise users? And please don't say Google Docs because in that case they just merged the same functionality (or very close to it) into Google Drive.

        • by fatrat (324232)
          Google Secure Data Connector. Totally an enterprise focused product. Never really supported (getting it to work involved reading the source code), now announced to be closed with no replacement (though with a suitably long 18 month lead time).
          • by jedidiah (1196)

            > Totally an enterprise focused product. Never really supported

          • How can you blame them for ending support for something you say was never really supported to begin with? The product may have been useful to enterprises, but without at least the option of a support agreement in writing you can not consider it enterprise software.

    • by mcvos (645701)

      Their core market is advertising. They need information to know what kind of advertisements are most relevant for you.

      Basically they want two things:
      * More information on what people are looking for or interested in,
      * More people using internet, looking for stuff they're interested in.

      So their investment in internet infrastructure (fiber, balloons) is more making more people use the internet more. Android same thing. Everything else is for figuring out what you're interested in so they can show you advertis

    • by xelah (176252)
      It does come with problems, though. Consider what happens if Google's car research pushes out publicly funded (and published) research and ties the field up in IP claims and secrecy. Aside from hindering research, this builds a potential future monopoly for something very important - not to mention the risks of Google tracking the journeys made and stuffing cars full of advertising.
    • "There is no real reason why Google can't do all of these things."

      Google is not attending to the social issues inside the company, in my opinion. We study the sociology of technology companies intensely because we have found that they often fail because of social issues.

      Here is a short list: Fairchild Semiconductor, Hewlett-Packard (HP), and Tektronix. At one time they were the best in their fields.

      HP began failing long before most people noticed. Products were released and sold that weren't finish
  • by wvmarle (1070040) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @05:43AM (#44047723)

    Google's and Microsoft's behavious are very similar.

    Google makes heaps of money with their search engine and advertising business; MS makes heaps of money with their Windows and Office products.

    Both are extending into all kinds of related and not so related ventures.

    Only difference there is that MS tends to go for already established business (XBox gaming console, Bing search engine, Zune music player) while Google is searching for new opportunities (networking with balloons and dark fibre; advanced automation with self driving cars, etc).

    the basics are the same: make a lot of money in one product, use those massive profits to extend into other businesses, or simply to have some fun (not all of Google's experiments seem all to serious from a pure commercial pov).

    • by tuppe666 (904118) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @06:01AM (#44047775)

      Google's and Microsoft's behavious are very similar.

      Not even close. Microsoft is the same lumbering bullying monopolist it always was(although now looking stupid in todays mobile market), and Google acts like fresh young startup(although now with lots of baggage).

      Other than them both being mega corporations, they have very little in common. This could be a whole topic in itself.

      • Err, no. Microsoft is a megacorp that just tries to take over anything IT-related. Google is a megacorp that tries to take over anything IT-related. Not much of a difference.
        • by ilguido (1704434)
          You can try to take over something without using the scorched earth tactics employed by MS, you know.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Wait, it's true that Google doesn't give away all of their source code, but like Sun, they build almost everything around open standards. They are geeks that care about doing technology right, and hope to make some money. Microsoft wants to make money at all costs, and harm competitors, and if the technology is good, well, that's lucky.

      Google mail supported IMAP and POP from the outset, when you had to pay for those features in Hotmail.
      Google chat uses standard XMPP, while Microsoft cried about AOL blocki

  • payouts come later (Score:5, Insightful)

    by flowerp (512865) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @05:46AM (#44047733)

    Look at what they did with Android. Seemed like a crazy project at first, but now they're essentially owning the market for mobile operating systems.

    So let them do their unfocused things, because some of them will pay out big later.

    • by rasmusbr (2186518) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @06:01AM (#44047773)

      Or look at Amazon doing other things than selling books.

      You don't want to put all your eggs in one or two baskets when you're operating in an industry where most everything changes completely in a decade. In fact, it might make sense from a risk perspective to enter into industries with slower rate of innovation and change like automotive, energy, etc.

      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        Amazon is a company that relies on two core businesses, and doesn't seem to expand much beyond that.

        The first is being an online retailer. Started with books, added a host of other products - yet essentially it's still the same kind of business. Whether you sell books or CDs or furniture or houshold electronics or whatever doesn't matter very much - the products look different but the process is the same.

        The second is their cloud computing business. They have numerous offerings there, from dedicated servers

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @06:59AM (#44047961)

          The cloud computing business is purely a side business. The only reason they are in it at all is to monetize their infrastructure needs. Ever wonder why in the early years of EC2 is always slowed down at Christmas time? The infrastructure they were renting out was the excess capacity they need to add every Christmas season to meet demand. They started renting it out and then Christmas time came and they needed it all back, leaving EC2 customers in the lurch. They eventually grew it to the point where it is able to survive without affecting customers, but it is still simply renting excess capacity they don't need. I doubt it could survive without the retail sales business.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by whisper_jeff (680366)

      How is that modded insightful?

      I don't think anyone with a hint of awareness thought that Android sounded like a crazy project when they announced it. I think everyone who had a clue recognized it as a bold move into a new market that would make a big difference. And, lo and behold, it was.

      Also, quite frankly, I find it amusing when people describe Android as "owning the market for mobile operating systems" because it's a narrowly defined definition of "owning the market".

      Are they owning marketshare for the

  • by monzie (729782) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @06:10AM (#44047799) Homepage

    Disclaimer: Not an MBA, never attended even a Biz 101. Just your average geek

    I think we are talking about two distinct things here:

    1. A company which makes a lot of money selling ads on the 'standard' web and the mobile web

    2. A company that is trying to carve a space in the 'enterprise' space ( Google apps, docs etc )

    3. A company that is spending a lot of money on innovation - most of which looks to help the general public ( Specifically mean their attempts at networking ) and some which look like sci-fi projects ( Google glass)

    #1 - It's how they earn their $$ and I ( like most of you ) use their search engine and email offerings. A lot of us use their mobile operating system as well - and we take for granted that it keeps our contacts and calendars and other stuff in sync. ( side note: not many , especially the Apple fanbois - appreciate how good google email/calendar/contacts sync is )

    #2 My previous and current employer use Google Apps. My previous company migrated from Domino/Notes (gasp!) to Google Apps and my current company moved from Exchange/Sharepoint/Outlook to Google Apps. As an end user it made my life much better. However, I am sure the CIO who took the decision for the move had evaluated other factors as well ( Cost of migration, cost of maintaing , integration with exisiting directory services etc )

    #3 - Now let's assume they make a ton of money with #1 and #2 ( in reality they're making money primarily with #1, but bear with me) and they spend their money on Gigabit Ethernet and self driving cars. What's so wrong with that? How does spending money on Gigabit ethernet make their Google Apps or Google Search team any smarter/dumber? Answer: It doesn't.

    I do not work for Google and Google doesn't need my defence.

    I just think this article and post is pointless. This is a question a shareholder may ask. As an end user I"m happy with their offerings for personal and professional work and even they work on a new variant of the NCC-1701* - It wouldn't matter to me or to my CIO as long as what they offer us is better than the competition. As of now, they are.

    * = If you do not know what NCC-1701 (and it's variants are) Google it (pun intended) before you reply

    • by Sollord (888521)

      Half the problem these days directly relate to the MBA degrees infact I'd say workplace negativity directly tracks the increase in the number of MBA holders

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by wbr1 (2538558)
      Are you sure you are not an MBA? You stated that there were two main items and listed three. Sounds like funny MBS math to me. (Lets just slip this in there, no one will notice) .
    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      Agreed, I can't say I have the feeling they lost their focus. When it comes to their core products (Search, Maps) they're still miles ahead of the competition. And for the rest they offer a very decent offering (Gmail, Docs, Google+, Android, etc). Not much better or worse than the competition there, they still manage to stay at the top.

      Can't say that of Microsoft - falling behind with Windows (they still have the critical mass though), IE caught napping by FF and Chrome, totally lost the mobile market, and

  • by joh (27088) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @06:49AM (#44047925)

    If Google REALLY would try to do what it could do in some fields instead of rather helplessly fumbling around often enough, it could very soon get into a dominating position that wouldn't be good for anyone.

    I think people underestimate the extremely central point in which Google has comfortably positioned itself. We should be happy about every lackluster move Google does. And of course it is reigned in by being an advertisement business which means that it doesn't really care about anything that isn't connected to selling more ads. This explains a lot of the half-heartedness it displays in many things. It's just not worth the effort to destroy other businesses if you can't make money out of it.

  • by pla (258480) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @06:51AM (#44047931) Journal
    Google exists primarily as a playground for two (actually much, much more, now) geeks. They want to do things like build driverless cars and have robot cats and sharks with frickin' laser beams.

    Unfortunately, Google accidentally became too successful, and would have needed to start filing SEC disclosures even if they hadn't gone public. So hey, free money.

    Now, Google has a problem, not unlike that of John Rigas or Dennis Kozlowski (minus the criminal aspect of it, of course) - Brin and Page both see Google as their private playground, but have to pretend they give the least damn about their shareholders... Thus, the whole reason they brought on Eric Schmidt early on, to do all that boring BS business-stuff while they play with online weather balloons.

    But make no mistake, evil or no, Google exists as a high-tech playground, not a serious business. The fact that they make oodles of money should serve as a role-model to other companies who haven't come to grips with the fact that "knowledge" workers do their best when not forced to sit in a 6x6 box for exactly eight hours a day using only "approved" apps and hardware.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by su5so10 (2542686)
      In the OLD days (e.g. up through the early 1990s), MOST successful tech companies had research labs doing far out things. AT&T, Xerox, DEC, IBM... I think the fact that today, few companies have such a research arm, is the real problem.
      • by swillden (191260)

        In the OLD days (e.g. up through the early 1990s), MOST successful tech companies had research labs doing far out things. AT&T, Xerox, DEC, IBM... I think the fact that today, few companies have such a research arm, is the real problem.

        I think Google takes this concept a bit further, than those companies did, though, investing a far larger percentage of revenues into R&D, and even encouraging engineers whose day job isn't R&D to spend part of their time building new things.

    • I don't see how Google can lose, in light of how MS seems to be hell-bent on killing itself with the atrocious Windows H8. What Google's doing is actually innovating. Yeah, it's a playground for a couple of geek billionaires. I don't see that as a bad thing at all. You can argue persuasively that the company has jumped the shark and is no longer "doing no evil," but they're investing big bucks into pure research. Once in a while they come up with the (tm)Next Big Thing, like Android, and they make a killing
    • by pellik (193063)
      What has google done that is just for the enjoyment of it's founders? What I see when I look at google is a company striving to get it's feet in the door of the markets it thinks will be dominant in 20-30 years. They want to be at the forefront of wearable computers. They want to drive your car for you. They want in on the internet access business.

      Try to imagine the world post-singularity. Now look at what google is doing. Heck, they even have a program named 'Singularity-U' where they bring together peo
  • What better way to attract the best nerds than high altitude wi-fi balloons? All those crazy projects attract people who want to feel their career won't be confined.

  • Irrelevant (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tridus (79566) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @07:37AM (#44048097) Homepage

    The only relevant things about Google's enterprise performance should be how seriously they treat those offerings. That they're playing around with driverless cars on the side really doesn't matter in the slightest.

    If it does, then obviously people should be equally concerned that Microsoft is more focused on trying to sell phones and Xboxes than it is on what their enterprise customers are actually using (since they're sure as hell not using Windows 8).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    enterprise products, and services.

    Google Apps hardly work well enough for a hobbyist, let alone an enterprise. There are serious bugs that have existed for years, Google chooses to ignore them. Google does offer any real support.

    And yes, Google's habit of constantly closing down products, and services, even those which are successful, does not sit well with enterprise customers.

    Google makes about 97% of it's revenue on advertising. Everything else is just some silly little back-burner project that Google em

  • They are all about gathering user activities data to provide more target advertising. The more your stuff are being used by consumers in their life, the better you can profile and predict their future behavior.

    If Google start getting into, let say, food, oil or pharmaceutical business, then you can start complaining about them being a conglomerate.

  • Wait... why does Google want to compete with Microsoft? Last I knew they were in different market spaces. Sure theirs Bing and web apps, but isn't that about it? I think Google's doing just fine, a little diversification never hurt anyone.

    • by spacepimp (664856)
      Google with Google Apps and Cloud Computing and with them slowly moving G+ into an intranet for business is headed squarely into MS Territory. This is a direct challenge to hosted Sharepoint/Exchange/Sky Drive.
  • ...wondering if perhaps Google has simply become a master of advertising and marketing in its own right, rather than being just the middleman. All of these projects make Google seem cool and geek-friendly, and keep Google brand front-and-centre in a mostly positive light. With all of their slick-new-project churn they simply look less moribund and uncool than either Microsoft or Apple, even as they're becoming a more staid and conservative company. And with their seemingly limitless supply of dollars, the c

  • by Lluc (703772) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @09:59AM (#44049179)

    This article summary from a few decades ago:

    Bell Labs' Crazy Lack of Focus -- Is it Serous about Telephones?
    From semiconductors, to photovoltaics, to computer operatings systems, Bell Labs has wanders aimlessly from topic to topic. How will these ever apply to the copper lines strung across the world to carry our telephone conversations?? Doesn't Bell Labs know that it should only invest in ideas and technology that can pay off within 3 years?

  • Replace MSWord (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lfp98 (740073) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @10:14AM (#44049331)
    Their strategy with GoogleDocs/GoogleDrive is truly incomprehensible. Seven years after its launch, it is still pathetically primitive, lacks even the most essential functions like detailed formatting of figures and legends. DOS WordPerfect was more sophisticated. MS-Word is a terrible program, still crash-prone, expensive, frustrating and distracting. It cries out for a replacement, even though almost every enterprise and public sector institution is dependent on it. Google engineers can make a self-driving car, you'd think they could program a decent word processor in an afternoon. It's clear they're not even trying. Why??
    • by PPH (736903)

      Why?

      Because R&D projects are fun for a few years. But once you have an actual product, you have to commit to supporting and improving it. Not so much fun for the whiz-kid CS grads fresh out of school.

    • by Art3x (973401)

      even the most essential functions like detailed formatting of figures and legends

      Are you serious?

      DOS WordPerfect was more sophisticated

      Did DOS WordPerfect allow several people to edit a file at the same time, showing each person's changes right away, in nothing but a web browser?

      Google engineers can make a self-driving car, you'd think they could program a decent word processor in an afternoon

      Are you a programmer? As a web programmer for many years, I feel it would be easier to make a self-driving car than a word processor that does everything Microsoft Word does, plus the aforementioned web features.

  • Xerox's crazy lack of focus with PARC, and what's Bell labs doing mucking about with semiconductors instead of making telephones?

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