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If you take a step back, Google's launch & deprecate cycle for new products actually kind-of makes sense.

Internally, Google is not so different from an ecosystem of VC-funded startups. They try a lot of things. Some ideas work and others don't.

The alternative is to never ship new products out of fear of failure. Or, to indefinitely support everything, regardless of how tiny. Or, to wait so long to derisk a new product that they possibly miss out on a new market (I'm looking at you, HomePod).

At the end of the day, this strategy has worked out well for them, so why stop? For every failure like G+ or Allo, there's a success like Google Photos or Duo.




From a business perspective, Google's way to work with products makes totally sense, as you described. But - and that's that problem I have with Google - from a user perspective, their way to work is unprofessional. Why did this become an internet meme? Because all the projects they launch are launched with a lot of loud tam tam, they advertise them and for new users it clearly feels like this new product is here to stay - only to find out two years later that the product will be cut off. People start to use this new fancy app which is marketed to be the "next big thing". And then later some product manager thinks that it may be not worth to continue working on it.

IMO if Google really wants to try out new things, they should make these things invite-only to find out if they are working and how users interact with it, or clearly mark them as 'beta' or something like that. Google has a huge fan base and the internet is full of people excited to try out new things. But if users clearly see "hey, this is kind of a beta product, I am just testing this out" there would be way less disappointment if the product shuts down after a while.


Gmail was famously in beta for many years, long after it became an extremely important service.


I think Gmail is a good example for how it should be done, one of the few, if not the only good example.


Imo, there are other companies that operate like this but don’t lose customer trust in the process.

I might be biased but I think Amazon is like this.


Remember the fire phone?


The fire phone begat the teams that build Alexa and Go so I’d say we are doing pretty well.

Disclaimer - work in Alexa


Sure, but there's no denying that the phone was an utter, abysmal failure. Alexa could be exactly what it is today without a lot of that development.


> Internally, Google is not so different from an ecosystem of VC-funded startups. They try a lot of things. Some ideas work and others don't.

For some definition of work. They're still mostly (~80-90%) an ad-driven company, after all these years.


This is almost saying uber makes all of its money from ride hailing, almost all these years.

Reality: after 2008, economy boomed, and advertising also did. Advertising, once you have the means, is easier to scale, and high margin. Google stopped relying on just owned and operated properties, and diversified into 3p properties to achieve even more scale

Most other businesses or business attempts require massive operations which google lacks

Even you ramp up non advertising revenue to a billion dollar, advertising will grow more just because it is already big.


This is a strange comparison. As far as I know, Uber doesn't actually make any money. They've operated at losses on a few billion in revenue for as long as I can remember by aggressively expanding their core business. They have maybe one or two side hustles which compliment their core competency. I don't see any comparison that can be made to the way Google operates.


Google Photos is definitely not a success from my POV, sure it’s a nice product but they killed Panoramio because of it and most importantly most of the data behind Panoramio is now lost. I personally don’t know what Duo is, I guess I’ll google it.


Google Photos has 500 million monthly users.


So why did Google decide to delete all those Panoramio photos, then? And user numbers don’t mean anything to Google if they decide to kill a product, look at Google+.


> For every failure like G+ or Allo, there's a success like Google Photos or Duo.

One of these is unlike the other. The amount of money invested into the ultimately-failed G+ is mind-bogglingly immense.




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