While I won’t add speculation on why Jennifer left, it does seem odd for Google to have two partially competing* products with no direct announced plans to merge them. Not only is this against Google’s Marissa Mayer’s voiced strategy to merge Google services wherever possible to create better bigger services. It’s also partly bad usability because Google users (“Google users” in the broad sense) have to get used to two different video interfaces, two different upload tools, two different ways to embed movies, two different video search engines**, and so on (not to mention the additional brainpower needed for having two teams at Google independently improving all these video features, or come up with new ones). To recall, Marissa calls service mergers the “San Angeles” or “Los Diego” strategy, and provides her reasoning behind it:
You take large product [sic] and merge them together into the biggest possible nucleus. So if you took San Diego and Los Angeles together and merged them into one mega-city, that’s even bigger and more memorable than the two cities independently. (...)
It is hard for people to remember more than 5 or 10 products from a particular company. If we can take each of the products we have and make them even larger and more meaningful to people, I think there’s a lot of benefit that could be had by both the users, because they don’t have to remember quite as much
For instance, a simple way to begin merging video services with instant improvement for the user situation would be for Google to provide us with a “meta” interface where you only upload your video once, and then have it be stored in YouTube as well as Google Video. But this shows the dilemma: would this tool be part of Google Video? Or YouTube? Or something else entirely? Google could make YouTube be part of a bigger Google Video, but perhaps management is afraid to slowly destroy the YouTube community by showing signs of “assimilation.” Instead of the San Angeles metaphor, we might continue to have the Google planet with a bunch of satellites circling it, with more non-merged services to come with every new company Google acquires; buying DoubleClick was another case of a “land expansion” deal instead of a technology acquisition.
*Well, Google Video and YouTube are competing for brand attention, not revenue, as the revenue always ends up with Google.
**Albeit Google now shows instant videos in web search as well, part of their universal search initiative, and they also display YouTube results in Google Video (but not vice versa).
[Thanks Erin C.!]
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