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Ask HN: Is it true Google is a failure when it comes to developing new products?
11 points by techsin101 8 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 14 comments
Google seems to kill most products..

Google fails to launch most products successfully..

Most of the successful products that Google does have were acquired..

Some notable Failures: - Google+ - Google Desktops - Google url shortener - Picasa - Chrome Apps - Google Answers - Real estate map on google maps - cloud (?)

Successful products but they were acquired:

- youtube - analytics - android


Also same thing with facebook. They had to acquire whatsapp and instagram, but then went ahead and lost to tiktok in some ways. Oculus is a failure. Marketplace is successful but it'd be hard for it not to be.

What gives, how come companies with all the resources can't get logical next steps in their product offerings off the ground and also fail to innovate.

Why do they have 10k engineers but make so little??

Few points:

Picasa was an acquisition, and ran 12 years at Google - during which the overall focus changed away from desktop-first to web-/mobile-first, which now runs under Google Photos (they didn't handle the migration that well, but I wouldn't call Picasa a failure based on that). Chrome Apps didn't feel like a standalone product to me, but a side-feature of others.

I'm not sure the "were aquired" status is that relevant - they've either evolved a lot from them or the basis was not that outstanding. Youtube maybe, since it also brought a userbase.

Google does seem to have a culture that overemphasizes new over iterating on old, which leads to things like the hilarious failure of their messaging products where they launch one new per year instead of having weight and effort behind 1-2 outstanding ones. And that despite messengers being a network effect product. Combined with that likely is the relatively weird business model compared to many other companies: Many products don't make money directly, but only through ads or through binding people into the Google system (which will then show them ads). That likely (outsider perspective) makes discarding and launching products easier.

Good point. And last thing you mentioned, that's like firing engineering team because sales team made more money..

Google sucks at really feeling users (hence failed social apps and poor to average ux in most of the products).

I assume because of engineering cult (vs design cult in apple).

Awesome code is often just not enough for great product these days.

It’s about Google having bad DNA for building standalone products.

Google’s true expertise is in big data and algorithms and ranking stuff. That’s what they prioritize and often hire for. That’s great for building a search engine, but bad for building most kinds of products.

As an outsider, to me Google doesn’t prioritize engineers that really get social media or the type of design Google would need to compete in new spaces. (Their design is clean, but boring)

Internally, I believe that Google also has a system that keeps anything that competes with their cash cows to the back burner so it’s hard to put institutional momentum into experiments. And in the rare occasion when they do release something interesting, if it doesn’t make a billion dollars it’s small potatoes to Google so they don’t develop the idea further and maintain it.

It might feel like a failure to you but to them - and this depends on the end goal of the product - it probably isn't.

They've had products in the past that they've rebranded or consolidated, for instance. Just look at what they're doing with Google Chat right now.

I remember reading somewhere that different groups will develop products that overlap with each other and the one that performs the best remains alive until user interest is lost or if it's becoming a financial burden. It almost feels like a multi-armed bandit problem.

I have this feeling that sometimes, some products, are just a way of collecting brand new data sets for them to play with and hopefully improve current and future distinct products. They're a very patent- and data-oriented company.

Anyway, their moonshot company, X, actually encourages failure and the team who's working on a certain project is rewarded for it as long as they do it quickly IIRC; so maybe both Google and X share some similarities in that regard. If they don't share then it makes sense to kill products and avoid wasting money on something that isn't producing valueable data.

there is failure and there is lack of trying properly. Google with billions couldn't commit to single chat app properly... that's not some genius move to me.

There is internal resistance to new products that compete with the main product offering. A startup with only one product does not have this barrier. You can see the same effect with car manufacturers who were slow to introduce electric cars while Tesla cornered the market.

Most big companies find it easy to acquire. Building new innovative products from scratch in a big company is very difficult. They're just not setup that way

> Oculus is a failure.

I wouldn't call it a failure. A failed product is one which the company has shelved and never to see again, no rebranding nothing. Like zune in msft for example.

I think fb is continuing to invest to figure out the right market fit

has oculus been released? yes.

are people using it? no.

i think ppl don't use it because beside some demos there isn't much content to use it with. maybe should have partnered up with consoles and make money on game sales that use VR, chicken/eg problem would have been fixed.

How do you know people aren't using it?

In May FB announced over $100m in content sales for Oculus.


Cherry picking apart, Google and Facebook have Kubernetes and React as great industry leaders. I think this happens in every other business, something you build can please users or not.

But I don't care, as a customer, if my auto mechanic has the best most awesome toolbox. Just that he got the job done.

Engineering tools are only porn to people who can appreciate them. All the customer cares about is "does the damn thing work" and "I want it to cost what I think it should".

both of them are great but both are non consumer products more like technical tools though

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