Sword and the Script

Is Google-bashing useful?



Yesterday Google announced Account Activity a new feature designed to show users data across all their user accounts.  I’d venture to guess this is a response to growing criticism about search giant’s efforts to unify all of its services – an effort that began with Google+.

For example, AllThingsDigitial wrote recently that Google hasn’t explained why users would want a unified online identity.   It strikes me as rather intuitive (although there’s a case for diversification as well), but a week later, Google announces account activity; a step to respond to the critics. 

Today, GigaOm is out critical of the new feature, calling it useless and says the “company continously fails to contextualize almost anything they do,” (sic).

Really?  The service has been out for a matter of hours and we’re already calling it useless?

Google has faced a steady drumbeat of controversy since launching Google+ which is central to most of its current criticism.  In this case, they are dammed if they do and dammed if they don’t.

A short while ago, Jeremiah Owyang, who I think is a really smart guy, wrote a post saying Google has a perception problem.  The post intends to demonstrate that Google Plus doesn’t have legs, in part by saying, “…our data on Super bowl ads, not a single ad by the world’s largest brand even mentioned Google+…”

Since when is being mentioned during the SuperBowl an acid test for the vitality of a company?

Remember the sock puppet from Pets.com?  As I wrote in a comment on that post, I don’t remember anyone mentioning Pinterest during the game either, yet that network seems to be both a media and social media darling.

Jeremiah also criticized Google for having a mere 60 million users, which he wrote leaves Facebook with a 16:1 advantage.  But that’s not a fair comparison either.  How old is G+? It’s not even a year yet and it took Facebook about four years to reach 58 million users according to VentureBeat.

Further, there’s something to be said about experience.  Google has failed (at least) twice now with social networks, in Wave and Buzz, and I’m willing to bet on a company with the brains Google is known for, and the resources of a company with more than $50 billion in current assets (yep, with all the focus on Apple’s cash we seem to have forgotten, Google never spent it’s raise after going IPO in 2004).

All I’m saying is let’s just slow down on the rush to judgment. The company is pretty responsive to users and for the amount of project it launches, certainly there will be some lemons.

Now I’m going to go opt-in for Account Activity.  If you’re an active Google user, you should too.

Photo credit:  screenshot from Google’s blog.    

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