Google: Building Great Things That Already Exist

John Gruber, discussing Larry Page’s inspiring anti-“us versus some other company” speech, where he implores people to just focus on “building great that don’t exist”:

Google fans seem to eat this kumbaya stuff up, to really believe it. But Google is the company that built Android after the iPhone, Google Plus after Facebook, and now a subscription music service after Spotify. They entered the RSS reader market, wiped it out, and are now just walking away from it. Gmail? Webmail but better.

The examples go on and on.

The problem is that Google tries to make great things that don’t exist, but it just can’t hack it. Google isn’t a product company, as much as it wants to be. The only product that Page could be referencing in this statement is Project Glass, but it’s still way too early to call that a “great” product. Maybe Google puts the Nexus Q into the same category, but I don’t think there is a single person that would apply the word great to that dead-on-arrival product.

This year’s I/O event seems like a complete non-event. Imagine the press if Apple did something similar at its developer conference.


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