An unofficial blog that watches Google's attempts to move your operating system online since 2005. Not affiliated with Google.

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December 30, 2007

Winning Even When You Lose

* April 1, 2004: Gmail launches in a private beta and starts to offer 1 GB of free storage.
* May 13, 2004: Yahoo increases the free storage from 4 MB to 100 MB. In 2005, Yahoo Mail's free storage grows to 1GB and now it's "unlimited".

* August 25, 2005: Google Talk launches. "Built to support industry standards, Google Talk enables Google users to connect to the Google Talk service and exchange IMs using any client that does the same, including Trillian, Adium, iChat, GAIM, and Psi."
* October 12, 2005: "Yahoo! Inc. and Microsoft Corp. today announced a landmark agreement to connect users of their consumer instant messaging (IM) services on a global basis. The industry's first interoperability agreement between two distinct leading global consumer IM providers will give MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger users the ability to interact with each other, forming what is expected to be the largest consumer IM community in the world, estimated to be more than 275 million strong."

* July 2007: To bid for the 700MHz spectrum in the US, Google asks four conditions, the most important being to allow people to use any application and any device (these two conditions were accepted).
* November 27, 2007: Verizon Wireless announces "that it will provide customers the option to use, on its nationwide wireless network, wireless devices, software and applications not offered by the company".

* November 2, 2007: Google launches OpenSocial, "a set of common APIs that make it easy to create and host social applications on the web".
* December 13, 2007: Facebooks opens its application platform. "Now we also want to share the benefits of our work by enabling other social sites to use our platform architecture as a model. In fact, we’ll even license the Facebook Platform methods and tags to other platforms."

At the end of the day, it's not important if your product doesn't win when your offerings can make changes for everyone.


  1. I don't think Gmail is a "loss", though it's certainly a good example of how Google's efforts often benefit even those who don't use Google products.

  2. U have a wonderful blog in here.. came thru seopedia..

    Any way, have a rocking New yEAR..


    *sorry that am using the Nickname.. My open id is "broken"(a lil conflict between seat belt and openid server)

  3. so in effect google while not ahead of the pack every time has spawned enough competition to keep other providers on their toes... thats certainly a good thing....

  4. My theory is that Google's cost per user is lower than anyone else's (although that gap may be narrowing) so every time they force competitors to give away more resources they win.

    That applies to the small fry as well. If Facebook actually allowed you to upload full-sized pictures, exchange real e-mail messages, etc, their servers would collapse.

  5. The competition between Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft will benefit the end-user the most, as that is their target.

    However, given the close proximity of the release/announcement dates, you can assume that the individual efforts inside of each company were already well underway. Maybe the PR piece was moved up, but I'd doubt that Product Managers at Yahoo or MSN slide down some fire-house pole every time Google makes a logic step forward along the feature list.

    It would be a little more helpful if you could you explain how Google and it's shareholders win when other companies offer similar services.

    To put the loss in perspective, I'd also like to see total number of subscribers and the CAGR for Google Talk, Gmail, and OpenSocial in contrast with the financial investment that Google has made in each.

  6. If it was about "Lose", I think Google did not mind losing the battles, as long as it could win the war. Google was brave, and broke the barriers protecting the short term benefits of those giants like Yahoo and Microsoft.

    The backbone of Google business is essentially collective intelligence, which was started from the search engine calculating back links. The success of collective intelligence is based on good algorithm, and more data.

    Through promoting more online services on different platforms and pushing openness (e.g. interoperability between competitors), Google will get more and more data of human intelligence.

    It does not matter whether Gmail, Gtalk, social or whatever GServices will win respective markets. These services are just storm troopers for greater openness of collecting data.

    Google is winning the war of collective intelligence when losing some markets of some services.

  7. Well, among all the "tech giants", Google is our most beloved.
    Every action brings great impact to the industry, alway leads the revolutions.

    For example: Who can ever imagine how many MB could be left in our pitiful mailbox if there was no GMail? No one believed the enterprises care the users so much. Until Google prove it.

    I wish Google a great year of success, and more surprises for the world. :)