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Rats, My Startup Just Got Googled!! (bashford.wordpress.com)
6 points by drm237 on Aug 12, 2007 | hide | past | web | favorite | 14 comments

The worst is http://www.google.com/transit.

They released a beta that works for a small list of cities. Years later there is still no released progress and in my opinion its killed a lot of competitors.

Its a great, though obvious idea. Local bus systems have the worst and least helpful web sites ever. A simpler global app would be invaluable. Except no one makes it because who would go out and start a mobile "When will my bus come to this stop" application with the probability of google transit launching at any moment? No one, and so a lot of innovation has been held back.

I get angry about that every time I sit at a bus stop. :)

My boss has been complaining about this for at least a year. He's said, on multiple occasions, that this would be a profitable market for a startup to go into.

My reason for not going into it has nothing to do with Google: it's that a.) I don't want to deal with dozens of municipal goverments and b.) if some bureaucrat decides he wants to expand his turf, I could find myself competing with the government. Now there's a monopoly - with the power to tax and the lack of accountability to shareholders, governments can waste far more money than Google.

It sounds like a good business for an older entrepreneur though, preferably someone with local government experience.

i agree with you to an extent, but one part of me says that if somebody really has the guts, (s)he can just go ahead, and do such a good job of it that google _has_ to acquire it. clearly, it's something a lot of people need.

Oddly enough, Google transit hasn't stopped the government. I use nextmuni.com nearly every day, and it's a life-saver. How did I ever use public transit without it? If even the government can compete in this area, a small startup could wipe the floor with both of them.

I agree. The "threat" from Google is highly overrated. Gmail didn't kill their competitors. Nerds use it, but most users still uses Hotmail or Yahoo mail.

The same can be said for "Froogle". This is a search engine from the world's most popular search engine company, but their competitors are still very much alive (and provides a better product).

Youtube was far more popular Google's alternative video service, so they forced Google to buy them

If you have an idea you shouldn't worry about Google. The real threat comes when Google buys one of your better competitors, then you might begin to worry.

if you're in SF, nextbus.com is the way to go. nextbus uses gps to tell you how long 'til the next bus at your stop.

Google _does_ have competitors with deep pockets. The post mentions being nimble. You don't necessarily have to be more nimble than google -- just the competitors in the market that would do better to buy you than build their own.

But M&A frenzy shouldn't gloss over the need for a way to monetize a product. If you're building a good user base, and have a way to make money, you're in good shape no matter what Google does...

... maybe.

Having some time to think about it.

A) Google will trend towards a short-sighted bureaucracy over time, as most public companies do.

B) As a result, the opportunities for the small nimble players to succeed will still be great.

C) Having Google, a big public company with a big bank account, is actually a great thing for startups; it is a company that understands the market that it is helping to create, and can used its deep pockets to acquire companies that create a lot of value.

D) Strong adversaries (Google) lead to better products! Which is great for users!

My point is: Can you do it better than Google? I think that in many cases the answer is... Yes! I got a lot of ideas from Katty Sierra's Creating Passionate Users. (http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/) This is a MUST read for me. Good luck.

If you can do better than Google, could you market it better? It seems like the best way to compete with the big guys is to stay out of their way until you've built a solid base.

Most of the "marketing" is done by tech people blogging about the new product, and other tech people read it and thinks that everyone uses it.

I would think that Gmail is the perfect example of this. I read about it all the time, but that's because I read slashdot, digg, reddit and other sites that most people don't read.

Even people studying computer science don't know about Gmail and has to be told that there is an alternative mail service. I bet that most of Facebook's users don't use Gmail or don't see the point when they have Hotmail.

The thing is, people love integration. Just look at MS Live Spaces. A lot of "common" (as opposed of Silicon Valley bloggers) are using it.

Google can integrate theirs, you can't.

Not everybody wants to use Google. I am more than willing to look into competing products and chose them over Google if they are better.

A lot of people will choose the competition simply because the competition to Google is the underdog, and people often sympathize with the underdog.

look at Zenter then

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