Business Week has an article about Google’s nonsearch products. According to the article, 99% of Google’s revenue comes from its small text ads on search pages and so far none of Google’s other products are changing that equation.
In the last couple of years, Google has released a huge number of nonsearch products, each with fanfare about its effect on competitors. Not one of them is a market leader in its category. Google’s instant messaging program is a distant memory, virtually unused. Gmail is a modestly popular free online mail program but it has a quarter of the users of MSN and Yahoo e-mail. Google’s online spreadsheet last month generated a lot of talk, but much of the talk focused on what was missing. Google Desktop, personalized Google home pages, Google Finance, blog searches – all services that have found audiences, but nothing that has made competitors fold up their tents. The only unqualified success that comes to my mind is Google Maps, truly the best in class and the most widely known of many similar services.
This week’s announcement was Google Checkout, heralded by analysts as a Paypal killer. It seems like a natural fit with Google’s advertising business and perhaps it will take over a big part of the business of handling online transactions, but Google’s history makes you wonder whether this will be another launch that’s long on hype and short on followthrough.