NY Times on Google’s lack of focus

Saul Hansell of The New York Times examines Google’s current product offerings and feature gaps and comes away a bit puzzled. According to quotes in the article Google goes for the wow factor with stand-alone products that do not integrate well with the work of others. Marissa Mayer says it’s a lot easier to get engineers to spend time developing new features than fill in a feature gap. Sergey Brin says he is now encouraging engineers to develop their ideas as add-ons for existing Google products instead of as stand-alone products.

Former Yahoo! executive Toni Schneider is quoted saying Yahoo! is now too bureaucratic for someone to come up with a game-changing idea and run with it.

My favorite stat: “[O]ver the last year, according to comScore, Yahoo added 11.8 million e-mail users, more than Gmail’s entire user base.”


Commentary on "NY Times on Google’s lack of focus":

  1. Greg Linden on wrote:

    Niall, that article was not very kind to Microsoft either. Here’s a different excerpt:

    With AOL and MSN from Microsoft losing share and plagued by strategic confusion, Yahoo is in a position to further solidify its lead as the Web’s most popular full-service Internet portal …. Both [Google and Yahoo] are gaining users as AOL and MSN decline.

    I do not think the article was as negative to Google or Yahoo as you are portraying it.

  2. Niall Kennedy on wrote:

    I think overall the article was negative on Google and positive on Yahoo!. I was surprised at the execs’ comments about their employees.

    Microsoft and AOL had brief mentions as losing market share in areas such as search to the benefit of Google.

    Google gains users from the AOL search box as well.

    Issues such as choosing the right features or balancing risk vs. expected user wants are not unique to one, two, or even four companies.

  3. Duncan Rawlinson on wrote:

    An interesting quote from a Time Magazine article:


    “ERIC SCHMIDT: We try very hard to look like we’re out of control. But in fact the company is very measured. And that’s part of our secret.”