free html hit counter Levy on Google | John Battelle's Search Blog

Levy on Google

By - April 03, 2005

Steven gives an overview of where the company is now in Newsweek. Intersting quote about ads in Google News from Eric:

In order to let the products develop organically, sometimes Google forgoes revenues in the short term. “It takes years to become profitable in terms of total dollars invested, but we don’t even think about it,” he adds. “When we started Google News, we forgot to put ads in it. It’s not deliberate. We actually forgot.”

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7 thoughts on “Levy on Google

  1. BillSaysThis says:

    Levy quotes Schmidt: “The genius of Google is that we find new ways to solve problems that were never solved before.”

    Um hello, there were no webmail systems before GMail, no shopping engines before Froogle, no news portals before GNews? I expected the next paragraph to be Levy, experienced journalist that he is, to be an immediate challenge to that statement but in fact after using it as the lead never comes back to it at all. Puts the quote you use in this entry in somewhat of a different light for me–what do you think John?

  2. Brian says:

    BillSaysThis, there was no competent webmail before Gmail, there was no competent website that scoured the web looking for commerce before Froogle, and GNews is in a league of its own. Computer placed news stories in a live and effective model was unprecedented and groundbreaking.

    You can’t say that Yahoo! had the email problem solved before – when Gmail came around Yahoo was offering 4MB of space. That is not a solution. It is an illusion of boundary made to squeeze as much revenue out of every single user as possible. Google is good at actually and effectively solving problems, not providing “efficient” services.

  3. BillSaysThis says:

    Brian, the quote doesn’t say competent or great, Schmidt said never solved. You cannot tell me that the tens of millions of people using Hotmail, My Yahoo, epinions did not get value from them. In any case my interest is not debating the quality of these services but rather the quality of Levy’s (and Newsweek’s) journalism and a seeming inability to directly confront executives on outlandish statements.

  4. Hashim says:

    “When we started Google News, we forgot to put ads in it. It’s not deliberate. We actually forgot.”

    YEAH, RIGHT!

    Can kind of spin is that? Google thinks we’re stupid! And yeah, that “journalist” is not doing his job, which is supposed to be cutting through the smokescreen.

  5. BillSaysThis and Hashim are right. What would be scarier than Google trying such obvious lies is if they have convinced themselves that all this is true. Surely not. Google News was launched without ads because of how the news owners would react if Google started making money off their news.

    And as for the genius of Google, loads of companies solve problems that have not been solved before. All solved problems have been solved for the first time at some point. I don’t think any of Google’s products were “new ways to solve problems that were never solved before” – from PageRank to Keyhole. Original applications of exisiting solutions, sometimes; great implementations, sometimes; but completely new solutions, no.

  6. Nicholas says:

    How can you say that Gmail and GNews (or even Google.com) weren’t completely new solutions? Just because everyone changes their services to make them more google-like doesn’t change the fact that Google has and is doing some very new and innovative things.

    The question of whether or not Google has solved new problems depends a lot on the problems that you experience. For me, Gmail has solved a lot of email issues that were never addressed before including logical organizations (conversations), searching, and space limitaitons. These problems weren’t solved (in my opinion) before Gmail.

    As for Google News, I doubt most people realized there was a problem to be solved before Google News came around; I didn’t.

    I think you’re looking at too broad of a scope. While email solutions did exist, solutions to many of the specific problem that gmail addresses still don’t exist outside of gmail.

  7. Moreover.com was aggregating news for free in customizable web pages, from thousands of sources, way before Google News came about (now they’ve gone paid – but still, they solved the problem first). And Gmail – sure, some people love it, but it does not show the “genius” of all those PhDs. Yes it’s cool, but there are loads of cool email programs, that just don’t have the distribution clout of Gmail. Yahoo Mail had search long before Gmail – Gmail search may be better (at launch, it wasn’t, now I don’t know), but the problem was already solved. Storage – adding more storage is not a sign of genius (and it is debatable how much of a problem storage was, especially since you could always solve that problem by buying more … no one said the solutions had to be free). So you are left with conversations. Which helps some people but not others. Even if it worked for everyone, do Gmail conversations makes you think “wow, these guys are geniuses”.