Think back to the last time you used a search engine other than Google. It was probably in the late 90s, when AOL was your dial-up service provider, you constantly asked Jeeves, and every time Aunt Cathy called, you were instantly knocked off-line.
Nostalgia aside, we must acknowledge these former staples of Internet glory. What began as a mere search engine has now far surpassed its original intent. Google has managed to transcend grammatical constraints and find a place into our vocabularies as a verb, since we can now, “Google that shit.” Satellites like Gmail and Google Maps have skyrocketed the brand, and as of June 2011, the average amount of visitors on Google-based sites averaged 1 billion per month total.
But after a decade of living the sweet life, Google may be stretching itself too thinly. By trying to do everything, the company has started to create subpar products.Take, for instance, Google’s response to our recent social media infatuation: Google+. A distant cousin of Facebook, Google+ has over 43 million current users, but its success seemed to stop after initial interest passed. Many find the company’s attempt at a cleaner, simpler Twitter/Facebook hybrid lackluster and not worth the effort of adding yet another profile to check.
While Google’s dominance is clear on the large-scale, it’s in the smaller ventures that the company seems to falter. We can see it in its newest venture: e-books. Google has paired the recent undertakings with the iriver Sony HD, a black-and-white e-reader, sans touch screen. Sorry Google, but if you’re not in color, you’re out of business. And Google’s geek-friendly Android software always seems to run on phones or tablets that only mimic their iSuperior.
Clearly not the renaissance company it hoped to be, Google should stick to what it knows.The tech giant excels in website and software development and should fully harness this niche as its strength.The Google apps for iPhone and iPad are among the best on the market and function spectacularly on the hardware. Improving already outstanding products will strengthen the brand more effectively than apparent attempts at world domination, one industry at a time. Google, stop producing inferior products out of a ceaseless desire to innovate, and get your head back in the search bar.
Illustration by Sabrina Har-Dof