In the tech circles, we almost always get carried away by all the greatness of Google and its products, that we forget that Google too is not perfect. Yep, Google too have made a number of big mistakes; and here’s the top 10 list according to me, a loyal fan.
1. Google Web accelerator: The idea behind this product was to speed up page loading for users and all as it name suggests, but the product went down amid privacy concerns, web application problems resulting from the system and Google’s announced inability to handle all the traffic.
2. Picasa Web Albums: Picasa is a really sweet piece of software that was acquired by Google a few years ago. A while later Picasa Web Albums was announced, which a lot of people thought would be a flickr-killer, but instead it turned out to be a crappy badly-presented service that leaves much to the liking.
3. Dodgeball: This was an interesting startup that Google also acquired a while back, they were the first big startup that leveraged mobile phones and text messages for social networking. Google bought them and didn’t do much with the service, leaving the door wide open for twitter to come along and take over the show.
4. Orkut: This is yet another social networking site that was much-hyped and that Google
put their hands on launched as an inside project a few years ago, but ever since then they sort of put it on the back seat and forgot about it, while MySpace and Facebook took over the world.
5. Google Video – 1st Version: When Google first launched Google Video, it just didn’t work for the users, it felt half-baked, it didn’t live up to the level the competition had already set and people couldn’t find their favourite shows easily. Google fixed this pretty quickly, but still the first version is worthy of noting.
6. Google Finance: Another service where people were expecting a lot more from Google and were disappointed, as it didn’t offer much as a plus over other established services like Yahoo! Finance. Other criticism was about how it was too US-centered, and information from other countries is either minimal or non-existent.
7. Google Checkout: People were expecting a PayPal killer from this one, but its scope turned out to be very limited compared to the PayPal offering. It only offers people the possibility to store their credit or debit card and shipping information in their Google Account, so that they can purchase at participating stores at the click of a button. Ok, but just not as interesting or Google-like.
8. Google Base: This product isn’t even listed on Google’s website anymore, neither in the product list nor the Labs section. This was another service that didn’t live up to the hype that was built around it prior to its release (eBay killer, Monster killer, Craigslist killer). The idea is to have an online database provided by Google into which any user can add almost any type of content. It didn’t take off, not sure it ever will.
9. Google Page Creator: This is supposed to be a simple web page editor; I’m not sure if anyone even uses this service, or if it just serves as a personal reminder to some of us of that old nightmare called Microsoft Frontpage, even though I have to be honest, the html code generated by this service is cleaner.
10. Google Pack: A a desktop software bundle featuring selected applications from Google and other companies. Personally, I’m not a fan of bundled software especially if RealPlayer is one of them; plus it’s just not clear what Google ever wanted to achieve with this Google Pack idea.
Of course what makes Google as great as it is is that for every one of these not-so-good products, it has released a number of overwhelmingly great products that have revolutionized the way people do a certain thing online.