What If Google Tanked?

By Nathan Weinberg

Slate has an article that is sort of humorous and sort of scary, telling the story from the future of how Google failed spectacularly over the next few years.

Best line:

Google had also lost its “don’t be evil” cachet ever since founders Sergey and Larry had purchased a Boeing 767-200 and crashed it into Coit Tower while doing barrel rolls over the San Francisco Bay. They survived, but their reputations and that of their company did not.

The article makes some very good points, ones that Google should consider for its future. Probably the best one:

Google, as users of its desktop search had learned, wasn’t good at writing client applications.

Even if you like some of Google’s rare applications, you need to realize that Google’s downloadable software has yet to show any of the richness, depth and innovation of some modern software products. While Microsoft is reinventing the user interface in Office 12, simplifying with more features, Google is trying to reinvent it with less features. Its precisely for that reason why Google bought Picasa, because they knew how to make good applications.

I have an idea that can help Google with this: Buy AOL. See, Google and Microsoft are fighting over AOL for the popular search engine and advertising capabilities, but AOL has the best-kept secret in the software industry: their software applications guys are among the most talented I’ve seen.

Go to beta.aol.com and install AOL Explorer. Not only is it one of the most advanced browsers on the market, with more out-of-the-box features than any browser (except Opera), but a new version hits every two weeks with new features, and each version has a smaller memory footprint than the last, something unheard of in software development.

Or you could install the new version of Instant Messenger, AIM Triton. AOL’s newer, talented team built a brand new application so they could kill off the old, bloated version, and it works very well. Tabbed IMs, tabs within IMs for video, audio and file transfers, multiple people per IM, multiple accounts in a single program, and a universal address book with Plaxo, which integrates with Outlook. Google Talk may be quick and small, but AIM Triton is powerful and not a memory hog.

If Google bought AOL, not only would it safeguard a large portion of its ad revenue, but it could integrate the entire AOL team into its software development. AOL has built an advanced, consumer-friendly search engine over Google’s, an advanced browser over Microsoft’s (which can jump to Firefox in a second) and advanced IM by replacing AIM.

AOL could give Google the ability to create applications that can compete with Microsoft, while Google can kill off some of AOL’s already lessening bad habits. If Google wants to rule the world, they can’t do it all by themselves.
(via Alinobairro > Findory)

November 23, 2005 by Nathan Weinberg in:

5 Responses to “What If Google Tanked?”

  1. Wyatt Ehrenfels Says:

    Google Complicit with Abuse of Groups, Search Functions by Stalking Cabals

    (stay tuned for links to humorous reports as amusing as they are disturbing)

    I am raising public awareness about an emerging phenomenon — amusing yet disturbing — intellectually stimulating for this social psychologist — something that might also seize the interest of anyone interested in education, technology, and psychology. I am talking about the risks of participating in unmoderated news groups, news groups available through the front pages of most ISPs and most prominently through Google. For example, many psychology department web sites and blogs include the psychology “news groups” in their comprehensive list of resources.

    These tastefully-named “news groups” have become home to gangs of anonymous stalkers seeking to harass individuals who contribute unconventional wisdom or complaints to the Web. These gangs are comprised of academics, practitioners (i.e. professional shills) as well as non-degree holding supplicants, and tech-savvy belligerents with criminal and/or psychiatric histories.

    **Products of flame wars and defamation in these news groups end up vandalizing Wikipedia and the search engines (especially Google), raising questions about the credibility and educational value of these resources.**

    To offer some insight into the scope of the problem, I composed a series of related reports about the self-described “cabal” operating out of unmoderated sci.psychology.psychotherapy. The reports are offered in the spirit of civic responsibility, social science, and also to entertain its readers while striking a note of caution.

    I hope you enjoy them. The main report is the following:


    with links to related reports in the right navigation bar, including reports that illustrate how Web Resources (e.g. Google, Wikipedia, Amazon.com) are abused or vandalized for the purposes of harassment and defamation:


    best regards,

    Wyatt Ehrenfels

  2. Aditya Says:

    Regarding the desktop applications, we talk about features and features. How many features does an average Joe use in his everyday requirements. Google is for the Masses. Its lets any do what the application was meant to do. Just type and search. Quick and simple. The applications does all what the so called features make you do.

    Words of wisdom for the author: Keep it simple stupid.

  3. Nathan Weinberg Says:

    Google is for the masses? Google search might be for the masses, but Google’s products are used by us, the blog-reading, Google-obsessing tech-elite/search-geeks. The masses use AIM. And the masses like lots of features. Even if they don’t use all of them, its how they differentiate products.

  4. Ole Says:

    No wonder Google’s search monopoly is unstable. It’s challenged by map search start-ups like Quintura. www.quintura.com

  5. Michael Says:

    AIM Triton does sohog memory. My computer moved about 5 seconds slower for every thing it did after installing it… With a little twweaking [[okay, a lot]], Google talk could definatly have potential….

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