Google: Friction More Powerful than Google

June 23, 2008

Om Malik’s GigaOM flagged a vulnerability that I had overlooked–friction. His essay “Delayed: Android aka Google Phone” is a summary of a Wall Street Journal story, but he pushes beyond the WSJ with this statement:

…Whimsical wishes of carriers, endless customization, software delays and of course, executive reshuffling–these are facts of life for mobile start-ups. Welcome to the club, Google.

Please, click here and read his take on the Google Android delay.

What struck me as important was that in my listing of Google’s vulnerabilities in my The Google Legacy (2005) and Google Version 2.0 (2007), I overlooked friction. GigaOM makes it clear that environmental factors such as bureaucracy and work procedures can slow most companies, including Google.

After thinking about this point, I want to suggest that as Google grows larger, the friction the company faces will go up. For competitors, evidence of “friction” hampering Google is good news. Kudos for GigaOM for making this point clear to me.

Stephen Arnold, June 23, 2008

Update 1, June 23, 2008 6 45 pm Eastern: CNet has published “Google Andoid Success: I’ll Believe It When I See It” by Don Reisinger. Mr. Reisinger identifies four issues with the mobile initiative. Worth your reading time.Wall Street Journal

Update 2, June 24, 2008 Ars Technica reports that Google Android is on track. Jacqui Chang’s “Google Says Android Still on Schedule” is here. Google’s quick reaction to the seed  story has been fast and forceful. One wonders how Google could have missed the opportunity to provide a clearer signal to the Wall Street Journal before the negative Android story broke. Could Google’s PR mechanism be part of the problem?


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