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Google: Reinvent or Perish

One of the big news stories this morning is that the world’s leading search firm and huge corporate entity is preparing a deep overhaul of its basic search engine.

It’s the essence of capitalism here. Google must perpetually reinvent itself or wither and die. Change is risky — the new tech may not work out, consumers might not love the new Google as much as the old, or some new company can beat Google with a better version of the new generation technology — but stasis is death.

Google won’t be the only company challenged by this change. Google search engine helps shape the web as content creators seek traffic by orienting themselves to get Google driven traffic.

Now that is changing. We will see what happens to the rest of the web.

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  • Kris
  • Luke Lea

    Right. Google looks like it is loosing control of its own operations. Look at these responses on a Google forum to the question: What were your favorite Docs improvements of 2011?

  • Luke Lea

    Looks like Google doesn’t want you to see that discussion. You will have to log on:!categories/docs/docs/2ijlupQsa1Q/discussion

    For unbiased search results try here:

  • Luke Lea

    Here is a fairly representative response off that Google forum. What is your favorite Docs improvement for 2011?

    “Nothing. As an avid fan of google docs a year+ ago, I find myself realizing the only reason why I put up with the constantly changing (but rarely for the better) google docs is because the ease with which I can share docs and access it … but that hasn’t changed … or has gotten more confusing.

    Don’t even get me started on the pestering, screen wasting notices that I need to upgrade a document on my older docs, which when converted only require hours of re-work to get to look even remotely like the original … or the now constant harassment (in the same space that I just cleared up after allowing the the downgrading “upgrade” to happen) that I should use chrome (I expected more than M$ tactics from Google), and it isn’t like I am using some ancient crusty browser (always latest Firefox).

    It is slower, acts stranger, is less intuitive, and looks worse (but then again, the Google design department apparently have spent a lot of time interviewing small children on design interface preferences). It is, as a whole, terrible and every single time I use the latest Google docs I start thinking about exploring other solutions for my general document needs. The inability to work with tables (like moving, resizing, selecting/copying) within documents in any sensible fashion got worse, not better, as a specific example.

    I really wanted google docs to be a hit, I love the idea, and really loved the “simpler” older version a lot more than this garbage. What is worse, is that we seem to lose more functionality than we gain with each release. Reshuffling the interface and changing the look and feel isn’t an improvement change. Making simple things like typing in real time should not have been left by the way side so a new menu bar could be created to match the new “bland” look of the Google universe.

    Oh, and as for the “intuitive” documents “folder” interface … all it has done (and continues to do) is confuse the collaborators I work with endlessly, technical and non-technical people alike. In fact, it is only because of me that these other people haven’t already given up using this crap, despite the fact that they all complain constantly about how poor it performs, or the weird things it does, and never being able to find anything.

    Heck, this edit box (tinymce? or similar) looks and works better than the new google document. At least here, I could probably insert an image and not find it clipped into oblivion because editing above it changed the position to cross page boundaries and then forces a document reload because I try to drag the picture to a new position, but instead cause some sort of document system failure. LOL, hell, I would be happier knowing that something (like embedding images) can’t be done than deal with a terrible, bug ridden way to do something.

    The above comments are my feelings on both the “document” and “spreadsheet” (which is actually far better). I have used the presentation stuff once or twice. It is OK for what it is … a poor man’s power point rip off.

    As an employee of another rather large company that is on the bleeding edge of software development, I have to say that Google docs has to be one of the biggest disappointments I have ever seen, but maybe that is because I had such high hopes for it.

    I will not install chrome to make the experience better. That is stupid and wrong. Software over the internet should not be specific to a vendor’s desktop software. Good lord … get a clue … that is what we have been trying to escape from the last 10+ years.”

  • Jim.

    WRM, could you put some time and thought into figuring out how to tell the difference between good changes and bad changes?

    That would be a real public service, instead of pointing out entities that are changing. (As Luke Lea points out, sometimes not for the better.) Conventional Wisdom talks about change constantly — the only constant seems to be all this talk about change.

    What we need is to think about things that should change, and things that should not (or do not) change, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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