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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    When most people hear the name ‘Google,’ they think innovation, easy-to-use products, and the famous corporate motto, ‘Do no evil.” I do not.’ When I try to use the myriad of services that Google offers, of which many are buried and obscure; I find myself wondering what the big-wigs at this multi-billion dollar company think when they roll out with new products.

    Take Google Video for example.’ The interface is sloppy and navigation is difficult.’ Did you even know that they offer videos for sale?’ If you didn’t, that’s okay- I don’t think many Google employees do either.’ If they did, they’d make it a bit less frustrating to peruse their video collection and buy what you so please.’ While the idea of Google Video is great, it is light-years behind competitor YouTube.

    People rave about GMail, and I must say, it isn’t a bad service.’ It was the first free online mail service that I can think of to offer over 1GB of space, which is now up to well over 2GB.’ The interface, while clean, isn’t optimal for everyday use.’ Yahoo Mail Beta, on the other hand, has an interface that is both advanced and familiar, bearing a great resemblance to mail programs such as Outlook Express and Apple’s Mail.’ While GMail isn’t bad, it certainly isn’t great.’ I expect some of the smartest people in the IT industry to do a bit more research and to come up with a truly great interface that blows the competition out of the water.

    According to Marissa Mayer, Google’s Product Manager, Google tries its hand at a wide array of applications, and the popular ones get tweaked and made better, while the poorer ones are let to die.’ While this is a very interesting business model, I see it as less than optimal.’ Again, even though I bring up Apple frequently, it is an opposing model that I believe it much better than Google’s.’ Rather than roll out with a myriad of software programs and hope that people use at least some of them, Apple puts all its eggs in one basket with each product launch.’ I wish this was Google’s way.’ If they truly cared about beating the competition when it came to Google Video, we would see a robust design team on it that would produce a truly great interface, and not one that is tainted by the philosophy that searching for things is better than a hierarchical representation.’

    To be fair, there are products that Google makes that simply blow everybody else away.’ Google Desktop is a perfect example.’ In a small sidebar on your desktop, Google managed to beautifully package weather reports, a scratch pad, recent emails, and many more customizable features, all while building a searchable database of your entire hard drive in a way that no rival has done since.’ But some of Google’s other products, including Google Talk, Froogle, Google Finance, and Google Local are obscure and cannot gain traction against heavy competition.

    All in all, I think it’s a far better philosophy to take each product seriously and make the UI and feature-set well out of reach of the competition.’ Each failed product that Google launches only dilutes its name, even if it expands its user base.’ Take a page from some of your competitors- don’t enter a field unless you are prepared to dominate that field.’ That way, Google’s name will be tied with excellence for years to come.

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