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Is Google innovating too slow?


Google is the poster child of innovation. At least it was some years back. Google was surprising the world very frequently with very large innovations until recently, e.g. Maps, Youtube, Android, etc. There hasn’t been any big ones for quite some time however. Self-driven cars might be the only exception and they seem more marketing than product still.

So is Google innovating too slow?
One of the key differentiators Google always had was superior back office solutions. Lately however more and more competitors have open sourced their backoffice marvels, e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Netflix, etc. This has meant that communities have grown around them, e.g. Open Compute, Hive, Kafka, Suro, etc. Now Google is not competing any more against competitors but also against their eco-systems. Kubernetes, the Docker orchestration solution from Google, is not used internally but if successful hopefully stimulates open sourcing more infrastructure elements. Also Google’s cloud business, although they were first with PaaS, never got the adoption an AWS or Heroku got.

Google and Slow Telecom Innovation
Android is the key to the biggest global mobile ecosystem but Google has been slow in rolling out other telecom innovations. Google Fiber is still limited to some lucky US cities. Google flirted with TV white spaces and announced enterprise wifi solutions but nothing really shocking came out of it so far. Why didn’t they compete with operators yet? If anybody could invent a way to circumvent mobile spectrum licences, you would expect it to be Google. LTE-U, the unlicensed spectrum for LTE networks does not seem to be a bad starting point. Until now there are just some rumours about Google becoming an MVNO. Also why did they buy Motorola, in order to sell the device business shortly after? Where their patents really worth the money? Some cool devices could have been created instead! WebRTC is a good standard but except for the free Google Hangout it is unclear what will happen next with it on Google’s side. Google Voice has never broken out of the US. It seems like the Voice team ran into a company politics battle and lost from the Hangout team. Finally Facebook is moving strong towards defining the future of network equipment. Why is Google not playing their SDN cards publicly?

Google and IoT
Google bought Nest for a lot of money and that was it. No IoT cloud, no IoT other product portfolio, etc.

Google and Social Networking
G+ finally got some users and there are some features that are better than Facebook but there is nothing world shocking about it.

Did Wall Street kill Google innovation or is there just silence before the storm?
Publicly traded companies no longer have the liberty to forgo short-term profit, for mid-term revolutionary products. Has Google fallen victim of the shortsightedness of day traders or is there just silence before the storm, ideally hurricane or tsunami? Time will tell…

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