44 - dead products and counting... Why is Google bad at innovating?!
The Google Cemetery website lists 44 dead Google products -- the latest being Google+ discontinued in October 2018. It's somewhat shocking to see large Google products or services suddenly abandoned despite years of work -- seven years for Google+.
There's many more services that Google closed after investing a lot of engineering work such as: Google Wave, Google Gears, Google Talk, Picasa, iGoogle, Google Reader, Code Search, etc. Some of the services have been combined and integrated and other products and are not completely lost but many are not.
These services might easily have several million users when Google shuts them down but for some reason they don't have any momentum in them and Google loses interest.
The failure rate is even higher if you count Google's SpaceX projects which haven been shunted off to a separate division under parent company Alphabet.
Why is Google so bad at successfully innovating new products and services? How will it be being able to diversify from its core advertising and search business?
GOOGLE HATES MARKETING
Google hates marketing and it doesn't understand the role of marketing in building a successful business.
Google is really bad at marketing because of its engineering culture which hates marketing and is based on a belief of "Build it and they will come." Design and build a great product and the world will come to you.
It's what worked for Google. I remember meetings with the Google founders in their very early days when I worked at the Financial Times . They were very proud that they became the number one search engine without any marketing effort at all.
Take a look at Google's senior executives and try and find a cheif marketing exec.
Google hates marketing. It hates anything you do to promote your online business -- outside of running Google ads.
You might call it Search Engine Optimization but Google calls it gaming the system -- it is a blatant attempt to manipulate its search technology. It will penalize any web site that goes beyond the basic SEO rules laid out in its webmaster notes.
Google's search technology wants the natural signals of popularity for a web page and if it detects you've tried to improve your business's pagerank by any other means it will flag the business for future investigation and the pagerank will be made to fluctuate randomly for a couple of weeks to confuse any SEO metrics.
Build it and they will come. No marketing should be necessary. It once worked for Google when there was no Google. But these are different times.