I’m not quite certain how Google executives and public relations are able to get some sleep as it seems like every day they are moving 100 miles/hour in an attempt to compete with all of its enemies. First up:
Launched as yet another attempt to better compete with Facebook & Twitter, Google Buzz launched amid a lot of turmoil and criticism because of many flaws. Most criticism around Google Buzz is geared towards its potential to help Google better compete in social media but also its flaws in regards to privacy protection. Stunningly, Google had made the default options very flawed. Google did not lose much time to answer back but damage had been done. Two things can be concluded in my opinion:
-Google did not do much testing on Google Buzz – Google has generally been a strong defender of privacy and I would assume that the mistakes made here were made not by choice but simply because Buzz was not tested enough to notice such flaws. Google does seem in a hurry to generate something to compete with Facebook/Twitter.
-Google Buzz is being talked about – To everyone that said Google Buzz had not shot, I would suggest looking at every technology media in the past few days. Turns out that Google Buzz is being talked about quite a bit and it is certainly good news for a company that to this day has been unable to generate anywhere near that word of mouth for its previous social attempt, Google Wave.
Interesting release from Google as they launched a series of template documents aimed to help brides and grooms to-be. You can take a look at their blog post explaining everything here. You can easily see how such tool kits can help Google Docs be more useful. Anyone who has planned a wedding knows how much planning is involved and having template for budgets, invitations, tables planning, timetables, and more can provide a huge help. With many people involved, having documents online for family members to view, modify and update saves many emails. Can you imagine sending an email to everyone involved each time someone new confirms their presence to the wedding?
Is it a major launch? No, of course not. But I expect that such launches provide the opportunity to showcase why users would gain by using cloud computing and more specifically, Google Docs. Long term, this is very positive.
Did you hear about the tragic luge accident on the opening day of the Vancouver Winter Olympics? It is tragic, sad and spread all over the world in a matter of minutes thanks to social media. And where did everyone tune in to get the news & images? Youtube of course. It is gaining more and more power as the first source of news and for that reason, Youtube looks like an increasingly valuable property.
As Google continues its desperate search to become a major player in the social web, it just bought another small part of the puzzle, buying social search company Aardvark for $50 million. It is a cheap price of course but I continue to feel like Google is not taking the time to get this right and has instead been spending left and right trying to find an easy way into the market. Still too early to say if this will be a winner, but having Google Wave, Google Buzz, Google Aardvark as well as many other local and international initiatives certainly raises questions about Google’s strategy regarding social.
Overall a decent week for Google and generally positive because of all the attention that Google Buzz received but I will be anxious to see if Google can keep its momentum in the coming weeks… as for impacts on its stock, not much to report from the past few days, I remain comfortable being long the stock.