A few years ago now Google was, for me, just a search engine. It performed well and as time went by nice new features began to appear. Little things, like being able to type in a calculation or conversion and recieve an answer. Useful tools in a plain interface that loaded quickly.
Lets look now at what we get from Google.
Google maps & Google Earth - Great tools for research, projects or just to get from A to B.
Google News - A selection of news from a variety of sources.
Froogle - Makes shopping online quicker and easier.
Google Groups - Topical discussion on Usenet.
Google Scholar - Searches of educational references.
Google Mail (GMail) - Webmail Service
All great online services in their own right, because of all the development that has gone into them. Then we have the applications that have krept onto the desktop.
Google Talk - A nice clean instant messaging client.
Google Desktop & Google Toolbar - Information and searches from the desktop.
We then have the contents of Google Labs, the new features that will be upon us all before long. There is even a talk of a Google Linux distribution. I tried out Google Reader, still in the lab at the moment, I was disappointed. In much the same way as I am with GMail. The interface is too fancy, if you have a large high resolution then fine but thats a no no at lower resolutions. I like a crisp, clean interface that lets me see more information rather than a fancy boarder. Its the reason I like the Google Talk client over MSN Messenger.
Back to my main point about Google getting too big. Out of all the big features that Google have put into the main stream, little development seems to take place. Where are the extra little feaures in Google Talk? Why isnt GMail's interface improving? I'll tell you what I think is the case. Google is taking on more than it can manage at the moment. It is trying to add new services and to get into the new market places rather than concentrating on what it is currently doing. Google became what it is today by focusing on doing one thing well, being a search engine. Sure it has grown and taken on extra features they are nice to have, but I think the quality of services on offer has declined. A bit more polish here and there is all thats needed, the odd bit of maintinance over time. Google can handle the load, it just needs to calm down for a bit. If it doesn't Google is going to burn itself out, that would be a shame.
What do you think?