Today, it can be hard to imagine that Google faced a deep existential threat to its business three years ago. The company’s financials were as strong as always, but there was a growing discussion among bloggers and the wider media over the future of the company in the rapidly changing industry due to social, local and mobile trends. Google was still primarily a webbased company, the bulk of its revenues derived from advertising that had failed to deeply penetrate any of these three nascent verticals.
The vision for the product was clear, though complicated: create a social network for everyone that would simultaneously provide Google with enough data about each user to ensure its search engine could adapt to a more social world.
These concerns were obviously external as well as internal to Google. It was clear that
Facebook, with its everexpanding social graph, was developing an extraordinary dataset that could undermine the supremacy of Google’s key search product. At the time, Google had a relationship with Twitter to access the social network’s firehose of data, but that agreement expired in mid2011. The solution was a product called Google Plus.
Google Plus or Google+ is a networking and identity service that was developed and launched by Google in November 2011. It is considered to be one of the biggest failures among Google products.1 In 2014 Google Plus registered 540 million active users (users who logged in at least once in 30 days), and now it is fifth largest social network worldwide, and third largest in the US.2
The main idea behind the service was to consolidate Google users into one social network. The product was not adopted by some of them, mostly because Google forced to use a Google Plus account to access service like YouTube and Hangouts, leaving them with no other option. Because of that Google executives are now debating about converting G+ from a product to a platform that will consolidate other Google products.3
Another interesting fact is that the creator, and product champion of Google Plus Vic
Gundotra left the company in April 20144 , meaning that the product development team was beheaded and the product lost the administrative and political support within the company.
Product Innovation Charter
Background: Google is a U.S. headquartered, multinational corporation specializing in
Internetrelated services and products. These include online advertising technologies, search, cloud computing, and software. Google manages a wide portfolio of online services apart from the search engine like Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive, Google Maps, and lots of others.
Focus: Core competencies of the company are defined as Fluid Core, meaning that the company’s strategy and core competencies are constantly evolving.5 The main revenue stream for Google is still online advertising, but the trend is moving towards other areas like web applications, wearable technologies, and smartphones and tablets. This type of strategy is defined by Google’s approach to innovation, that is always open to explore new technologies that may benefit the company.
Google Plus was an attempt to penetrate the social networks market by utilizing the existing customer base from other services. The big plan was to engage people who are