Many of us would remember how gmail was marketed. One would be able to get gmail accounts only through invitations and Google was giving initial invites to selected people only. This is in general termed as ‘Viral marketing’. It’s not clear to me when Google first followed this approach. If I remember correctly, there was no marketing ads to promote Google search at least in the first few years but it was done more through word of mouth. Orkut is another such Google approach that again tries to play with ads – a no ad social network.
But what is the so called Google approach? Is there such a thing? Wouldn’t there have been another Google-like if not for Google? Looking in these lines, one thing that strikes me is that Google is more about what their team wanted their computers to do and their thought that others also would want the same. This has worked for many of their products. They have translated their ideologies in their products and more importantly have been greatly successful in combing them with some of mathematical concepts to market their products. Doesn’t this seem to be a flawless idea to have their highly valued products to be a success? It seems they have a whole range of products that didn’t fly. Some of them are Orkut, Google Videos and Wave. These products to my knowledge were having great expectations. Even recently their attempts to get into social market is facing sharp rejections. Sometimes I couldn’t believe YouTube was not a Google’s start. It’s because it also followed the similar principles of Google, by showing similar videos along with what one is looking for. It did fit in for Google’s DNA. However, it’s nice to see Google to have purchased it at least.
On the other hand, Microsoft did manage to flag their Internet Explorer and root out Netscape and Windows still is continuing to be the one of most preferred operating system. If I would ask professionals most have replied not in favor of any Microsoft products (except MS-Office) but hardly any managed to live without at least knowing about it. I don’t think Google has been successful in getting any of their losing battles to win. I think rather Google became more successful in their some-what successful at start products. But Microsoft did turn tables. Even Apple did. What did Microsoft have in them that Google is missing to win a losing ground? I think Microsoft believes computer needs to work first for the dumbest and it has focused on it very well as the base line.
Most of us are in the days of Facebook as our social network. Before Facebook, it was the days of Myspace for social networking. Hi5 was my first social networking site but I stopped using it because people with whom I was connected with moved to Orkut. Now that I’m hardly using Orkut either.
Looking in Facebook’s perspective, their flowing-style integration of components and design choices is getting the attention of light-hearted people. Since most of the users for a social network are using it to only keep in touch with their connections, their state of mind should indeed be light-hearted. Perhaps Google or other companies should try a so called “Light-hearted” approach that they are not known for. As William Shakespeare said a light heart would live long, perhaps it’s the most important principle for a social network. But with this perspective, it’s hard to tell if Facebook will be successful in other products as well. I think it will not be with similar approach because people’s “wants” would be different.
In general companies have tried to bring in their character and ideologies to develop products. At least so far there is no software based company who could be accurate at empathizing people based on products and design interfaces for them.
Perhaps the best would be for General Electric to start developing interfaces!