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November 11, 2005

Google is Building Yahoo 2.0

In his posting titled Reading the Google Tea Leaves, Tristan compares various product offerings from Google against those of the "big three" (AOL, Microsoft, and Yahoo!) and concludes:

Google does innovate in some spaces but has largely innovated in order to gain entry in markets that already existed. As a rule of thumb, they've been very smart at breathing new innovations in those markets. However, their competitors are generally quick to notice and are catching up.

I've been giving a much shorter verbal version of his post for many months now. Typically when I'm interviewing someone or talking to random folks who are trying to figure out this industry we're in. They'll ask a question like "what do you think Google is doing?" or "where is Google really headed?"

My answer is this: Google is trying to build Yahoo 2.0.

It's really that simple.

If they press me for details on this theory (that only happens about half the time) I say that it's as if someone decided to re-invent more and more of Yahoo's popular services in random order, giving them a fresh user interface, less historical baggage, and usually one feature that really stands out (such as Gmail's storage limit or Google Talk's use of Jabber).

When Google Calendar and Google Finance (more in a future post) finally show their faces, I suspect they'll follow the same pattern. They'll look like someone sat down and thought "I'm starting with a clean slate, so how would I build a modern version of Yahoo! Calendar, with a newer and more interactive UI, one killer feature, and fixing the various things we've learned since Yahoo! Calendar launched many years ago?"

A few people have recently told me that I'm not "stirring the pot" enough on my blog anymore. I assume that by "stirring the pot" they mean "talking trash about Google", so maybe this counts? Or maybe it's not trashy enough?

Anyway, what's your theory? Is Tristan right? Am I right?

Will Microsoft try to build Yahoo 3.0 in 24-36 moths when their newfound "services" vision finally trickles down through the ranks?

Posted by dymaxion at November 11, 2005 04:52 PM


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