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June 21, 2006

Google Lacks Stickiness

"Google is kind of a metaphor for investing today. People want a short-term fix and they want something that has momentum," says Fred Kobrik, a successful growth fund managers, for CNN Money. He doesn't recommend buying Google's stocks.

Kobrik also says the competition in search market is not over as "winners often come from behind and original leaders wind up running into problems". He talks about companies like Apple or products like Lotus that were once market leaders.

Kobrik thinks that Google launches too many products just as experiments. "Google's throwing a lot of mud against the wall to see what sticks. That's pretty scary."

"Google has no ability to lock in users the way Microsoft and Yahoo have. Google has had a lot of success but they look a lot like the old Xerox to me." Google has a big user base in search, but these users don't find the other Google products as attractive. Google didn't create a real community, like Yahoo or Microsoft have done, so the users that come to Google for the great search engine may easily go elsewhere if another great search engine launches.

Search engines' user base is volatile.


  1. I'm a Google "fan". They have lot's of great applications (Picasa... etc...etc..). He thinks that Google doesn't have a real community? Sorry Mr. Kobrik, but you are wrong. I advise you Sir to read Slashdot or Digg. :)

  2. I certainly think gMail, gCalendar and Google Customized Homepage are a way of locking people in. Windows Live for example is a very clean and usable search engine but I can not be bothered taking all my RSS feeds to their homepage, switching from gMail (which I would probably not even do should Windows LiveMail be incredible) and taking my data from gCalendar.

    Google has locked us in.

    I think Picasa is a flaky bit, I would switch should a better product come along.

  3. Do you think kobrik has used google? Microsofts offerings have not changed significantly for 10 years, and yahoo is playing catchup. I thought google came into the market after these players and countless others anyway? Google allows me to do about a billion things I cant do elsewhere. Plus just about everything that I can as well.

    Can anyone think of anything significant you cant do on google that you can do elsewhere? Thats probably a better subject for the article. :P I mean checking my gmail and calender plus anything else I want on my own personal web-page?? I'm locked in.
    - Inyoka : Indonesia

  4. From a services offered stand point I love Google. But generally there is a company that paves the way with a new product or service then another company adopts their logic and improve upon it. Not saying this is going to happen but it is always a possibility.

    Last I check Google stock was about $390; that is a pronominal growth and what goes up must come down. I’m sure many people remember with stock holders of Microsoft were among the richest investors, but not so much any more. I love Google, but what I just said is what could happen; I’m pulling for Google.

  5. Lets hear it for another great media company that sucks!

    Why does CNN suck?
    1) They over hype stupid stuff
    2) They over hype important stuff
    3) They don't deliver the facts, but rather spend more time seeping their own political agenda into the news.
    4) They censor what their sponsors don't like so they get more money...
    5) They try to force their views of a situation on you by hiring so-called analysts who spend more time trying to figure out why they're right, rather than finding the truth.

    Hahahaha, sounds like Fox News or MSNBC...

    I suppose that's why CNN is called Crappy News Network.

  6. Google can launch as many products as it wants it doesn't matter if they "stick". The point of google releasing so many projects is to make people's lives easier and to flex their technological muscle. If google was selling these products it might be a different story, but he money coming in from advertising isn't going to stop because good released another beta. They are on top of the market now because they have the best technology, these services that may or may not catch on only further the amount of resources that google can utilize. Besides their software I find it incredibly hard to believe that another search engine is going to come out thats better, the only way that would happen is if google split in two and became Google A and Google B.

  7. Sorry Fred Kobrik, You are wrong. Please explore google.

  8. Don't forget guys, that most people reading this blog are interested in Google in the first place and therefore most likely have tried their offerings.

    Most of the internet users in general however have NOT tried most of Google's products but use it to search the web. Thus a better, newer, slicker DOITALL search engine could proof to be a potential if though very distant threat for the future.

    I'll post more on my blog however.

  9. heard of Orkut Mr Korbik, that is a bigg "community" and its the right step Google has taken to lock in and create a community, how about gtalk? thats community too right ?

  10. Google has great tools. However, I think Google needs to integrate them better. Yahoo! Groups has calendar and files integrated into the group. In Google these are all stand alone. Now that Google has all these tools, they need someone to make it a project to make them all integrate seamlessly. I think that will come in time, probably before M$ gets their feces consolidated, but it needs to happen soon. I've had people want to use Smartgroups and Yahoo! instead of Google groups because of the integration issue.

    If the groups were tied into calendar, base, web page editor, Writely, Spreadsheets, maps, Orkut, Picasa web albums, and perhaps blogger and talk, that would be the killer community creation engine. *THEN* Google would be "sticky" as could be. Small community groups would flock to Google services. That would be cool. :-)

  11. Sorry Fred Kobrik,
    But Google does most things that I want it do do.
    I no longer have to back-up my PC. Google has my Home Page, My Email & My Bookmarks. What more could I want ?
    Well, When Google allows me to back - up my PC to some sort of cyberspace, they have me for life.
    Long live Google, I love em.

    Regards...Des Speed......

  12. I read all your comments on my cell phone (which is pretty uncomfortable) and I must say I'm impressed with your strong reactions.

    <I'm a Google fan.
    >I love Google, but I'm not a fan.

    <I certainly think gMail, gCalendar and Google Customized Homepage are a way of locking people in.
    >Webmail is one of the ways to add stickyness. Calendar is not yet finished, while IG is really slow and it's a little more than a feed reader.

    <Can anyone think of anything significant you can't do on Google that you can do elsewhere?
    >Feeds for search results. Search for videos on the web.

    < I find it incredibly hard to believe that another search engine is going to come out thats better.
    >Google search hadn't improved too much in the last 5 years and Google itself says that a search engine shouldn't deliver 10 links to some sites, but a comprehensive answer to your query.

    <Heard of Orkut Mr Korbik?
    >Orkut is mostly used by Brazilians, so I wouldn't call it a success.

    <I no longer have to back-up my PC.
    >How does Google help you with that?

  13. I no longer have to back-up my PC.
    How does Google help you with that?

    All of my email, email contacts and bookmarks are on some sort of Google page.

    I also use A Firfox extension to use another Gmail account as data storage. To this account I send my Firefox profile and My Documents + an encrypted .txt file of all of my passwords and FTP log-ons and passwords.
    If my PC goes down, I can access all the info that I need from just accessing my various Google Goodies.

    Regards....Des Speed.......

  14. Sorry, forgot the most important thing !

    I also use a USB Flash Drive with a portable Firefox, all relevant extensions included, to access my Google Goodies from any PC that can access the internet.

    Microsoft & Yahoo can't even get close to the service offered by Google!

    I have no use for Google Calendar, but do use Picasa, Google Homepage and Google Notebook.

    Regards...Des Speed......

  15. I don't agree with anything this negative article has to say on google and their stock.

    I, myself have gmail, and I use it extensively and never ever had one problem with it. Whereas before I use to be terribly annoyed with msn mail(till this day I still have nightmares about hotmail). That was the worst email system ever.

    Google, is a company,community, and provider of the world information, and it's is all at our finger tips, and FREE!!!! I am in love with GOOGLE and stay up to date with their new doings as much as possible. I love the fact that their into this open source type of software. I know now its still in need of major perfection, but you just watch and see when this company surpasses everyone and everything. They will soon have an entire elaborate and easy to use office suite. Also, I think soon they will have their own internet web browser and with all these servers they are aquiring we, the end users, will be able to use and store everything up in the internet. In other words the computer itself will simply be a shell or a portal to all of our important files and workings.

    Think about it, unlimited storage, and unlimited access to all kinds of business and entertainment oriented tools.

    Also, I don't know what he means be Apple being a market leader. Apple was and never will be a market leader. If they are such a market leader then why does no one have their damn products, they only have 5% of the market, nothing is compatible with em, they are not business oriented, simply put they suck more than anyone.

    Once I wanted to see what Apple computers and products were all about. I took my father with me and he got discusted with their terrible slow and crappy quality. A dual core laptop of Apple is slower and ten times more expensive than the same dual core laptop PC and it has nothing on it. they say they are too advanced that's why there is no s-video port, only two usb ports, no modem, no dual layer dvd etc....

    I didn't know being advance means taking so many features of technology and throwing them in the garbage and charging a million bucks for the product.

    Anyways, overall Google is a fantastic company and will forever stay in the growth phase, unless tech. itself dies.


  16. After reading this blog for quite a while, I've decided to actively participate and leave a comment.

    I agree with all of the above comments to a pretty high degree, therefore I won't court Google anylonger.

    To my opinion, Google offers something extraordinary, that no one else offers, namely an interest for data that does not directly refer to my private life. I'm not one of those who love to expose all their private events, life happenings etc. publicly on the web. When I open up a GMail account, Google asks me only basic questions. It doesn't care about my Zodiac, where I live, what I do, etc. This is a great plus, to my opinion.

    Another "two thumbs up" I award to Google for being the only company to already putting in practice, what already is inevitable: web-based services. I don't want anything on my HD, I want everything online. Spreadsheets has revolutionized within two weeks, the way my company works, the calendar as well. And this is only the beginning.

    And should there be any doubt left that pretty soon, after realesing a couple more beta (such as word, ppt, db and other office components), Google will put them all togehter in a GOffice Pack and make them all accesible at once through you Gaccount - this doubt may be considered eliminated.

    And then, dear Mr.Analyst, Google stocks will go beyond what you had predicted - because then, Google will have us all and we all will have Google.

    Kind regards - joker91804

  17. Investors want to see a company make more money than they spend or lose. They want to see growth. As long as you keep on growing and stay out of the day trader's sights by staying out of court and not seeming to break the accounting rules (those will drive a sudden sell-off), your stock will stabilize and steadily rise. Google's model is pretty simple, generate ad revenue by being attractive to advertisers (provide evidence that the right people look at your ad) while also being attractive to the people advertisers are targeting (maximize the number of eyeballs on each ad). If we click-through to the advertiser's sites when we are searching (as opposed to only surfing the normal pages pulled up) then we excite the advertisers and help Google generate cash flow. We can do that because we are genuinely interested in the advertisers products or services (after all we just searched for them) or we can do that to support Google financially so that they continue to build really cool stuff that we love to play with. With advertisers facing more and more opportunities for customers to opt-out of viewing advertisements (e.g. Tivo can cut out the commercials) and the fact that you clearly opt-in to their advertisements with Google (you actively click on their link), Google have a very, very sticky business model as a marketing firm. It is too bad the short-sighted analysts cannot see the potential here. This guy is probably just steamed that he did not get in at the IPO price...

  18. This article is being reposted on a blog that the vast majority of readers are Google lovers (i am one of them)
    So it's not supprising that these comments are defending Google.
    I love google, but, i will agree with Mr. Kobrik on some parts.
    1st. Google does release many products, just to see if its anything good.
    ex: Google Spreadsheet Now, i beleive that Google Spreadsheet is just the begining (like writely) of a Google based office equilivant to come soon, but, anyone who has used Google Spreadsheet knows it sucks (at least, thats my opinion).
    2nd. For the longest time, Google was a search engine only. No email, no news, no groups, no calander, web search, and later image search.
    Yahoo, and Microsoft started with everything (search, news, email...) Google played catch-up with Google News, Gmail, Google Calander, Google Groups, and, the first 2, Google News and Gmail have surpased their microsoft, and yahoo counter parts.

    Now comes the part where i disagree. Google has a large userbase, and a large brand name. It will be hard for any company to compete with Google anytime soon. I am a loyal Google user, i have been for the past 6 years, and i will be for the next years, or until the end of the earth, which ever comes last...
    That being said, i dont automatically think google products are better, i try my best to try other products out before i ultimatlly decide to use google's product.
    Google is a powerhouse in the internet, and they will be that way for a long time...

  19. The problem with this is its hard to find people who don't use google to comment, because once they research what google provides, they get stuck on it. Google is the only web resource provider that makes all users including linux & Mac feel like valued customers. In a similar way to how Open Source Software makes people feel involved.

    I think thats the difference Google makes money out of advertising, advertisers dont pay unless google has users, we are the users > GOOGLE VALUES ITS USERS. Google is not trying to pry money out of our hands with every click of the mouse. To be honest I actually like the adverts google provide, I think they give value to me. MSN & Yahoo adverts are in your face and distract from the experience, because they are not FOR you, they are AT you.

    Theres your stickyness, a company who values its users for what they are, their source of income. Thats why I like Google, I feel respected. Now can you imagine anyone writing that about Hotmail????
    - Inyoka : Indonesia

  20. i don't agree with mr kubrik. I am locked with google for its technological standards. I am a great fan of Gtalk for its voice quality. I think google will soon become a market leader with each and every product they released. I tested Skype,yahoo. Gtalk stands first then followed by MSN.


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