Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Google's tough job

Google's release of it's instant messenging tool last week was greeted by a mixed reaction. For alot of general press this was exciting news. Google's broad appeal, its virtual omnipresence, has meant that with a little bit of buzz surrounding a new release the story very quickly snowballs.

But while the general press was busy explaining yet again how Google is changing the world, the IT press started asking the real questions about Google's new product. How is it better? How does it compete against the existing competition? Google Talk doesn't, not at this stage. It is in beta, but it is very much a 'me too' product at this time. That is, it exhibits a number of features that other products already have. So what are the benefits?

And this is where the problem lies. Google has set the bar very high for itself. Any product release, beta or otherwise, from Google are met with very high expectations. People expect Google to deliver something to make their lives better, compared to the competition. Google Talk doesn't do that yet. For Google's sake, I hope this is a case of the best is yet to come. For if this is the start of Google simply matching its competitors' features lists it can still lose the war.