Saturday, January 29, 2011

Quora: Why is it taking Google so long to develop/launch Google Me?

The following is a snapshot of the answer summary when it was first published.

Why is it taking Google so long to develop/launch Google Me?
Not only did it take Google a long time to decide to make a social network, but developing it, is apparently taking a long time too, sort of like Buzz.
[Since we are not involved in the development of any such social initiative, our answers are educated guesses at best. In any case, here is a short summary. Please feel free to edit it.]

Creating a highly scalable (think hundreds of millions of users within weeks), highly reliable (think in three or more nines, internally) takes a lot of time and effort. 

At a highly data driven company like Google, they way they would assure themselves of the quality of service would be to expose it to a lot of people, collect the feedback and reiterate. With Facebook so far ahead, Google does not have the luxury to ship an unfinished product. From Tumblr: Is it reasonable to complain about a free service being down? Why or why not? we know that user expectation from free services are high. So are the stakes. This social initiative could prove to be rather disruptive to the search giant. Getting it right from the get go is critical.

Gmail (which was in beta for seven years after release) was internally tested for several years before release. It is still to be seen whether Google can bring innovation drastically better/more popular from the status quo with this new social initiative.

Moreover, at every step of the analysis and design of this new system, decisions need to be made on whether going forward with the project makes sense. These are not easy decisions. Projects get killed and revived as executives reevaluate the market conditions.

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