Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Google: Is the search party over?

FORTUNE Magazine: Table of Contents - CNNMoney.com: "COVER STORY
Google: The search party is over
The company is still growing at rates others would kill for. But its core business is slowing, and its stock is down. Can Google find its footing in this brave new world? By Michael V. Copeland, with Seth Weintraub"

I found this one of the more interesting quotes from this article:

"And what if you don't even have a question to pose? What if you just need help? Consider the case of American graduate student James Buck. Egyptian police detained Buck for taking photographs of a protest in a city outside Cairo. Using his cellphone and his Twitter account, Buck broadcast a single word, "arrested." Buck's network alerted officials at the University of California at Berkeley, who ultimately got the U.S. State Department and a local lawyer involved. Buck was out of jail in 24 hours. Try that with a keyword search."

It seems a little like an unfair comparison, however, it illustrates nicely that mostly automated search results can only do so and so much when it comes to reaching the same level of interpersonal trust, significance and actionability that can be reached by human driven albeit - technology supported - communication. 

Another case in point:

"McCue was an early Netscape guy, and he recently launched tablet software company Flipboard, which takes all your Facebook updates, your Twitter feeds, all the news sites you like and subscribe to, and in a very elegant way publishes a constantly updated magazine of text, photos, and video. "There is no need to do a search," McCue says. "We almost view it as a bug if we have the user search for something."

Anyhow, I found the article well worth reading - even though it really seems odd for most mere mortals looking down on a company that is expected to grow by only 15% over the next years. Anyway, it's quite interesting following the intense discussion on this topic here:

How Toyota is being tested by its biggest crisis yet. - Jul. 12, 2010

It's interesting to observe how an apparent key success factor - the setup of chief engineers ("shusas") driving their products through their entire life cycle - of what made Toyota so successful over decades seems to have had a significant negative involvement in the company's recent problems:

How Toyota is being tested by its biggest crisis yet. - Jul. 12, 2010:
"The shusas are emblematic of the idiosyncratic management that served Toyota immensely well when it was trying to conquer the world with superior vehicles -- today Toyota ranks fifth on the Fortune Global 500, with revenues of $204.1 billion -- but that failed it spectacularly when the company was confronted with a storm of complaints about safety. As the company grew, its Japanese leaders never relinquished the iron grip they exercised over the company's operations all over the world and continued to make all important decisions in Japan. Instead of globalizing, Toyota colonized."

Just hope that Toyota takes the right lessons out of this - both for the benefit of the company, but particularly also as an industry leader of lean production system.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Google: The search party is over - Fortune Tech

Google: The search party is over - Fortune Tech: "But critics question whether Google can make the leap. 'They are just not that good at it,' says Tom Coates, until recently the head of product at Yahoo's defunct Brickhouse lab. 'Google is very good at building these utility-type products -- search, e-mail, and messaging. They are sort of like the power company of the Internet. But what they lack is a sense of how people share and collaborate.'"

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Official Google Blog: Update on Google Wave

As much as I regret seeing Google Wave falling by the wayside, I have to say I do respect the clear and yet respectful language that Google uses to announce the end of this project. I don't remember seeing this so often ...

Official Google Blog: Update on Google Wave: "
Wave has taught us a lot, and we are proud of the team for the ways in which they have pushed the boundaries of computer science. We are excited about what they will develop next as we continue to create innovations with the potential to advance technology and the wider web."
Google CEO Eric Schmidt gave more insight into why Google Wave was stopped:
"We have a pretty strong view on this," he said. "As a culture we don't over-promote products...we tend to sort of release them and then see what happens."
Schmidt boiled it down to a mathematical formula. A new product gets announced and gets a certain amount of traction. At some point, growth falls off the first wave of people finishes trying things out. Then, it begins to grow again. "The first derivative of that second growth is a high and accurate predictor of what will happen."