I finished the excellent Steve Jobs biography the other day and learned that towards the end of his life, Jobs met with the chiefs at Google (whom he despised because they borrowed extensively from iPhone for their Android products). In their attempt to kiss and make up, they asked Jobs for suggestions about what they could do to help make Google a better company. In short, Jobs message was “prune and focus.” In Jobs’ opinion Google had strayed far from its core business of search by attempting to annex more and more markets and market sectors, and was in danger of losing the plot.
We saw evidence of the pruning shears at work today when Google announced they were shutting down seven products. Just how far had Google had strayed from their original mission? One of those they closed was a green energy project to enhance solar power….a million miles from search by any reckoning.
I was a bit sad to see Google Wave bite the dust. Wave was a very clever (I thought) collaboration tool which merged instant messaging and email to allow real time collaboration between multiple users. I remember the launch demo like it was yesterday. I immediately tried to get invited to join the wave party, unfortunately I was stuck in line behind the red rope and never made it in. The select few I knew that did make it in reported to me that there weren’t enough people who had the product to make using it interesting or useful.
It looks like someone at Google is taking note and cutting back under-performing or non core products. I’m a mere moth circling the Google flame, but even from my distant vantage point, if I was Google I’d be focusing on search, social and mobile….or Google Search, Google Plus and Android.
Oddly enough, on a wildly different scale that’s exactly what we over here at eLocal Listing and MyLocally are focusing on. We deliver high quality search engine visibility to thousands of customers every day, and we are planning to grow that; our new MyLocally product provides a simple way for local businesses to manage their social engagement at the same time get found in search; and everything we do is increasingly mobile.
So although I didn’t have the benefit of Mr. Jobs’ wisdom, I can certainly see the sense of sticking to our knitting…..search, social and mobile all the way.