Also Chrome and Android are not successes, Google Adwords is a success, MS Office is a success, MS Windows is a success. The key ingredient to a success for a company is some MONEY. Anything else is just showing off.
I'm still very disappointed with the follow through on Wave and Buzz, a bit of PR and a few man years of engineering is pretty minor compared to the profit they make. The 'oh well, it didn't work, we're giving up' attitude Google has been displaying recently is pretty disconcerting.
We may all hate MS, but at least they tend to follow through with some serious chops when the going gets tough (I'm thinking Silverlight rather than Danger).
I'm actually getting a little worried about Google's follow through on certain projects, as an external company I wouldn't be putting any investment in any of their new products given their recent track record.
I'm also not keen on Google 'competing' in the 'oh, we'll make money through search advertising' way they're doing recently. It's stifling innovation in certain markets imo.
Actually, rereading my post, I really don't agree with Paul very much.
On the other hand, I still think they're great, if a worrying monopoly. It could be worse though, Google could be run by Zynga.
Also, your notion that "Wave was not a risk" is similarly mistaken. The opportunity cost of having a large team of smart people working for several years is enormous.
That's not to say that in the long term these products don't end up being major successes, but until they start making money, that claim can't be made.
a product's success ...
is whether or not it improves the company's bottom line
RedHat paying high wages to highly skilled kernel hackers to work on (get this, open-source software) hasn't improved their bottom line?
until they start making money, that claim can't be made
I find it quite baffling actually that so many people are criticizing investments made by Google, Apple or Microsoft; These are big companies that grew to unimaginable levels in just a few years (with respect to oil mining which can take a few generations to reach a fraction of that size).
You should really learn from them, because not so many companies can achieve what they did ;-)
It's important to read what is written, not what you think is written ;) (yeah, I find the winky smiley annoying when it's placed after a condescending remark)
Using that advantage to invest in the future is the right way to build a long-term business. Focusing only on milking the current business is what leads a company to eventual disruption and collapse (because something new will come along that hurts the old business).
Android is profitable, which is pretty impressive for such a big project. I'm not sure how big the team is, but it's gotta be many hundreds, if not thousands of people.
And Chrome is probably profitable too. Google pays Mozilla Corp somewhere north of $50 million a year. Chrome has about a quarter of FF's share, so they're making Google at least $12.5m/year. Probably much more, given that Google surely profits off of their Firefox deal. Not sure how big their dev team is, but it was apparently only four in '08. Even if it's 20 people now, that's probably a million dollars in revenue per employee.
Seriously, if you started a phone OS business that went from 0 handsets to being the 2nd best selling phone OS in the world in two years and hit profitability in the same timeframe, you wouldn't consider that a financial success?
And tell Flock that a 10% share of the web browser market is financial failure.
Think about Maps on Android vs. iPhone - one is a lot more full featured and up to date with Google's tech than the other. Android being the de facto standard smartphone platform would be immensely useful to Google's other products.
e.g. Google Voice simply does not integrate well into the Apple user experience, but does so flawlessly on Android.
Google is vertically integrating the entire stack between them and the user - this is a great thing for Google, and not every link in the chain needs to make money doing it.
Also, it's unclear that success is measured by direct profit from that project. For example, the world with Android is clearly much more promising for Google's continued revenue growth than one without Android. Mainly, Google is the only company with the software chops to write and maintain iPhone-clone software that even vaguely works and the cash and testicles to negotiate with carriers. If Google didn't continue to bang hard on Android, all the non-iPhone smartphones would suck fairly seriously, and Apple would probably cut pretty seriously into Google's ad profits, despite Apple's ads not being as effective, purely because Apple controlled the dominant smartphone platform. Apple might also have a much stronger influence over the tablet web experience, beyond than just having written the first tablet web browser that worked.
(Disclaimer: I like iOS better than Android, having owned both.)