September 16, 2005

Deconstructing the Google Innovation Myth !

Posted in Category: Work — Amr Awadallah @ 10:11 pm | link | | comment (0)

There are two types of ideas

  1. Faster, Cheaper, Better ideas (improvement ideas)
  2. Novell ground-breaking ideas (innovative ideas)

I claim that most of what Google did in their history falls under the first type (faster/cheaper/better); hence I am really puzzled by why Google has this strong association between their name and the word “innovation”? I am hoping some of you folks can help me address that question.

I have to give Google some credit for the order-of-magnitude improvement in web search relevance that they introduced with PageRank, though a type1 improvement, it was based on an innovative method (though some folks claim that this method was just an improvement upon citation analysis for research literature that was proposed in the 1950s�…. )

If you put web-search aside, what innovative ideas/methods did Google come up with since 1999? Is the large Gmail mailbox a type 1 or type 2 idea? Looks like a bigger/better product to me, not really innovative. Same follows for Google Desktop, Adwords (a better Overture), Adsense (a better DoubleClick), Google Scholar (a faster version of CiteSeer), etc. [BTW, I love Google Scholar]

Ok, so now you will jump and say what about Google Maps and Google Earth. Well, Keyhole deserves the credit for this one; they really created a leap-frog experience compared to any other product out there. Google just acquired Keyhole and gave the product to their users.

— amr

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