Google’s Year of the Dog

2006 is shaping up to be a “dog” of a year at best for Google.

The year started with a bust for Google when their much anticipated announcement at CES turned out just to be a pack of software readily available via the Internet. Google Pack does gather all the software in one place and now apparently the Google Windows applications are coming to Linux.

That same day, Google Video was released with problems. Recently, Marissa Mayer – VP, Search Products and User Experience admitted that Google made a mistake by saying: “You can’t come out and launch a product like Google Video and say CSI and Survivor are there if they’re not on the home page.” Besides not allowing consumers to easily click and play (like iTunes), Google video has a host of problems including not allowing consumers to play copy-protected shows on portable devices not connected on the Internet (like on a plane trip). Overall, Google Video has been a big disappointment except for the video of two Chinese Backstreet Boys.

Shortly after announcing both products Google briefly reached their stock valuation high of $475.11 but has since dropped. In fact, Google stock has tumbled from the lofty $475.11 down to $342.38 losing 27% of the stock’s valuation equaling nearly $40 billion in shareholder wealth. Partially to blame was Google’s fourth quarter results.

Also, Google’s refusal to allow the US Government to grab information on searches. Then, blocking content and searches for China really made investors nervous. Within a couple of days Google received both “cheers” from Internet users when they refused the US Goverment access and “jeers” from many of the same users when Google decided that China was an important enough marketplace to be in to bow down to China’s content filtering demands. What happened to Google’s unofficial company motto of “Don’t be evil”?

What could be worse than having exiled Tibetans protest Google’s censored search engine version in China by “breaking up” with Google on the holiest of all Hallmark holidays – Valentine’s Day! Perhaps being grilled by congress on their China policies?

Google now has IT managers everywhere sweating because Google Desktop beta 3 has been released. Why do IT managers care? Well, Google software allows remote access to PCs thanks to a new tool that automagically transfers data from one computer to another. If you want this feature you give authorization to Google to store your information for up to 30 days!

Finally, this morning my Gmail interface had an annoying upgraded feature! Remember back in the early days of the web when people created sites using every technology available such as the blink tab and animated gifs (no comments about the Gizmos for Geeks logo please!)? Well, Gmail’s interface felt like that today as I moved the mouse over sender’s addresses and a Gmail Talk popped up. Before I could disable the annoying Gmail Talk popup, it had been disabled on the Gmail interface by Google though (well, at least the main account I use… it’s still visible on another account I use).

So, what has Google done lately that is good (besides denying the US Government access to search information)? Well, they added a Delete button to Gmail!

My suggestion for Google… hibernate for a while.