Google: Adding Friction?

February 23, 2021

I read “Waze’s Ex-CEO Says App Could Have Grown Faster without Google.” Opinions are plentiful. However, reading about the idea of Google as an inhibitor is interesting. The write up reports:

Waze has struggled to grow within Alphabet Inc’s Google, the navigation app’s former top executive said, renewing concerns over whether it was stifled by the search giant’s $1 billion acquisition in 2013.

A counterpoint is that 140 million drivers use Waze each month. When Google paid about $1 billion for the traffic service in 2009, Waze attracted 10 million drivers.

The write up states:

But Waze usage is flat in some countries as Google Maps gets significant promotion, and Waze has lost money as it focuses on a little-used carpooling app and pursues an advertising business that barely registers within the Google empire…

Several observations about the points in the article:

  1. With litigation and other push back against Google and other large technology firms, it seems as if Google is in a defensive posture
  2. Wall Street is happy with Google’s performance, but that enjoyment may not be shared with that of some users and employees
  3. Google management methods may be generating revenue but secondary effects like the Waze case may become data points worth monitoring.

Google map related services are difficult for me to use. Some functions are baffling; others invite use of other services. Yep, friction as in slowing Waze’s growth maybe?

Stephen E Arnold, February 23, 2021

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