In a world where Apple can do no wrong and Google has had some product flops, this week their roles have reversed.
Google launched its most ambitious social initiative yet with Google+. It is getting very good reviews from GigaOM, TechCrunch, Mashable and others. Due to “insane demand“, Google had to shut down invites to manage a slower rollout. (Even further proof that the world is upside: one of the original Apple Macintosh designers was the lead designer for Google+).
Beyond the smart design though was also a smart strategy. First, Google is unifying its services and pushing Google+ with a consistent toolbar across all of its properties. Second, Google is providing seamless syncing of photos taken from an Android phone to your Google+ cloud storage, where the photos can then be easily shared with family and friends. It is a smart strategy for getting user adoption – ReadWriteWeb calls it their killer feature. It actually takes a page from Apple’s iCloud book, where the cloud storage and the advantages it provides in accessing data from multiple devices is done almost “automagically” without changing user behavior.
Even China thinks that Google+ will be a hit: they’ve already blocked it.
Apple’s release of an upgraded version of Final Cut Pro X had a different result. Apple rewrote its media editing tool from the ground up, removing several features in the process. The backlash from reviewers and users was severe. It spawned a funny mocking video from Conan.
Apple reportedly had to provide refunds to unhappy customers. An online petition has over 6,000 signatures asking Apple to “declassify” it as a product for professional use. In a not-so-surprising coincidence, all the written reviews on the Mac App Store were removed for a period of time (most of which were negative). Then Apple was forced to publish a follow-up FAQ promising that a next release will come with “fixes”, including restoring some removed features.
Here are the takeaways from Google’s and Apple’s experiences:
- No company is perfect; even the best make mistakes.
- As I’ve written about before, you can never underestimate the cost of changing user behavior.
- Don’t ever count out innovative companies that have had the courage to try new things and are not afraid to fail.
It is too early to tell whether Google+ will be a success, but they’re making all the right steps so far, while Apple is backpedaling with one of its applications.
Image credit: jedbaxter
Rocco Tarasi was a public accountant, investment banker, and start-up company executive before becoming a successful technology entrepreneur.