Google is the search giant. We know this. They also have a slew of productivity tools that help with email, writing, calculating, translations, analytics, RSS feeds, etc. Their productivity offerings are just as good as their search offering. Simply put, they're good.
However, Google as had two attempts at social media -- Google Buzz and Google Wave. Now, it could be argued that Google Wave is a productivity tool, but in my opinion, it's a social application for groups, business teams, friends and family. It makes communicating happen in real-time and social. Thus, why I categorized it as "social media."
Despite Google's triumph in the search and productivity areas, their social media stuff has failed. Big time.
The question is, if Google is so awesome at search and productivity, why are they so bad with social media?
Well, that's a question I don't have an answer to, however, I can take a few guesses (and gross assumptions):
- Google is late to the game and they've yet to create a social service that is unlike anything else. Yes, Wave is "different," but it honestly is a mash-up of other collaboration tools. For Google to succeed in social media, they need a shiny new toy that's "oh my frickin' god" awesome. It has to be Twitter in 2007 or Facebook back in its college years.
- They might not have the right people in place to create a social offering. There are reports of people coming and going in the tech space all the time, but you rarely hear any talent acquisitions by Google that make you say, "Geez, they are up to SOMETHING big in social media." (other then hiring folks to dive into the online music space)
- The company has a reputation for search and they do it very well. They were also leading the push for cloud computing and productivity, and that's why they succeed in that area. Simply put, Google was late to the social game and it appears that all has been done before. Of course, this isn't totally true, but until they have their "ah-ha" moment, Google will continue to under perform at social media. And oh, the rumors of them having their own social network hopefully will be false because that will tank too — unless the rumors of social gaming are correct, then they might be on to something.
So Google, while I'm a huge fan and a die hard user of just about all your services, take a look in the mirror and play up to you strengths — search and productivity. Don't try and be something you're not.