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Why Won't Google Leave Me Alone?

By Sven Larsen (@zemoga) What are those guys in Mountain View trying to do to us? I’m still trying to find the time to master Google Wave. I’ve had an invite for a while but I’ve just been too busy to really explore it’s functionality. Then they launched Google Buzz. It looks fun but I Read more

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By Sven Larsen (@zemoga)

What are those guys in Mountain View trying to do to us?

I’m still trying to find the time to master Google Wave. I’ve had an invite for a while but I’ve just been too busy to really explore it’s functionality. Then they launched Google Buzz. It looks fun but I haven’t found the time to play with it either. Earlier this week they announced the Google Public Data Explorer, a cool data visualization tool. And today, they’re announcing the Google Apps Marketplace.

It’s a lot to handle.

And they’re not slowing down either. The Chrome OS is coming. Their building high speed networks. And there are at least two tablets running Android that will be released in the next couple of months.

I work in the digital business and I can’t keep up with all these new projects. How’s your average man on the street supposed to process all this cool new technology?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big Goggle supporter. I’ve had a Gmail account since the service started. Zemoga uses Google Apps for a lot of our business needs. And I’m writing this post in WordPress running on their Chrome browser (a great platform for speed but please fix those Flash compatibility issues).

But I have to wonder if Sergei and Larry and the rest of their team shouldn’t pause and take a deep breath. As Ken Auletta noted in his recent book, GOOGLED, the company’s culture is an engineering culture not a marketing one. That’s great for creating new technology (and I’m sure the company’s 20% time culture fuels that) but not necessarily the best environment for communicating a message.

If I were a Google exec, I’d be looking to take a page out of Apple’s book. Both companies have been incredibly successful and have well respected brands but Apple has significantly more control over their message to consumers. It’s helped them avoid issues like the privacy concerns that Google has sometimes had to deal with and more importantly, it’s created incredible anticipation for their new product releases. Granted the two companies operate on different business models but traffic is still the key to Google’s success. And it’s hard to eagerly await new technologies when you don’t know that they’re coming (or what their features and benefits are).

As technologists, we’re consistently focussed on the future, what Michael Lewis calls “the New New Thing”. But it’s important that we take the time to properly process the impact of our work and share it with targeted users in a way that they can simply and clearly understand. Steve Jobs learned that in his days with the BeOS. And Google needs to learn it too. Otherwise they will find they’re building the equivalent of Betamax VCRs. Great technology that no one uses.

So leave me alone for a little while Google. At least until I figure out how Wave works.

Of course that’s just my opinion. How did the rest of you feel about this cornucopia of new technology goodies coming from our friends in California?

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