Time To Play

    February 21, 2007

On the whole, Google’s search properties are doing well – a recent analysis showed a 24% year-over-year improvement. There’s a lot of variation among those properties, however. Google Video was the clear winner, with a gain of 545%, but Froogle, Google Alerts, and Google Local all suffered losses.

The statistics documenting these ups and downs were released by Jim Crane (of the Compete.com Blog). Some of the figures are a little disturbing, but as Crane pointed out, they shouldn’t be surprising. “Did you ever see Michael Jordan play baseball?” he asked. “Long story short, it’s impossible to be good at everything . . . Google is no exception.”

Of course, Michael Jordan gave up on the idea of playing baseball. Should we expect to see any of these “losing” Google search properties meet their doom? Well, yes. Sort of.

One property was Frankenstein-ed together with a proven performer. Crane noted that Google Maps did rather well, with a 77% year-over-year gain, but “[t]his growth comes on the heels of Google essentially merging Local and Maps in late 2005.”

As for Froogle, its loss is probably due to the introduction of Google Base, which should at some point take over entirely. This sort of planned obsolescence won’t hurt the company much – as Jason Lee Miller noted, “the company expects up to 80 percent of Google’s side products to fail.”

I can’t think of a valid excuse for the performance of Google Alerts. A 67% year-over-year loss is just plain bad. Google Alerts did pull out a 9% month-over-month gain, though, so things could be worse.

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