Nearly every site I visit this morning is discussing Google with disdain, and not even for good reasons. Michael Arrington vents about Google adding seamlessly useless features to Picasa and how commenters who drink the Google juice are just kowtowing Yes Men:
“Google-love is getting out of hand. In fact, Google is getting out of hand.”
Yesterday Google Spreadsheets launched and Mike had the scoop. Looks like a pretty cool product, but what it doesn’t look like is something to beat Excel, so why are people positioning it like that? Do bloggers truly think Google is dumb enough to launch Spreadsheets and say, “Okay Bill, eat your heart out because Excel’s going under!!!”, no of course not. Google Spreadsheets is not meant to beat Excel, just like the Writely acquisition wasn’t made to convert everybody from Word to Google “Processor” or whatever they name it.
Jason has some thoughts on the issue, and basically agrees with me to the extent that these new Google Labs offerings aren’t what people are making them out to be, which are “Microsoft Killers.” Jason thinks that Google is doing a head fake to get Microsoft to trip over their ankles, while Google comes in with New Product X and does a 360 dunk in their face. I don’t really know what Google is up to, but I can assure you it has something to do with making money. Think about it: these new Google Labs offerings are there to get people to engage more deeply in the brand of Google, to use the search even more, to publish sites with more AdSense ad blocks, and to generally do everything that makes Google a for-profit company.
Apple sells music via the iTunes Music Store, why? Um, not because they make boatloads of money on music, quite the contrary. They sell iTunes music because it sells more iPods which is what makes Apple money. Apple does one thing, which brings users into the Apple brand, and then these new users turn around and hand money over to Apple. Google releases these little web-based applications, which bring users over to Google’s playing field, and then these new users turn around and use search and AdSense which is in effect handing money over to Google.
Why are people not seeing this? Oh, because they’re not laying it out in 100 pt. font in a press release stating it, which “analysts” can then “interpret” and regurgitate on their blogs. Why does everything have to be black and white? Just because Microsoft considers Google a competitor doesn’t mean that Google feels that way. Let’s look between the lines a little bit more: just because Google isn’t laying any cards down doesn’t mean that Gin isn’t coming next hand.