The Google Toothbrush

Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door is a phrase attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson in the late nineteenth century as a metaphor for innovation. In 21st century terms, Emerson's mantra has perhaps been updated by Google's desire to 'build a better toothbrush'.

When discussing the goals behind the Cloud firm's increasingly diverse product lines, Google CEO Larry Page says :   

We want people to make products that everybody uses 2x a day, like their toothbrush. We'd certainly think about plus that way, and also just generally having really great sharing experience and identity service experience across Google and all of its products.
 

In practical terms, it is possible to break the Google portfolio into a number of broad camps, insists Page:  

I think about our products in 3 separate categories. First, there is Search in our Ads products, the core driver of revenue for the company. Next, we have products that are employing high consumer success: YouTube, Android and Chrome. We are investing in these in order to optimize their long-term success. Then we have our new products, Google+ in commerce and local.
 

In fact while seemingly set on an expansionist route, Google has done some spring-cleaning and rationalised a few offerings, argues Page:  

Greater focus has also been another big feature for me. More wood behind fewer arrows and last month, we announced that we'll be closing Google Health and Google PowerMeter. We've also done substantial internal work, simplifying and streamlining our product line...We don't do things that we don't think will generate really big returns over time. So we're optimising for our long-term economic success. But we do have these very different buckets of things that we work on.
 

And always there is the underlying focus on new revenue streams:  

People rightly ask, "How will we monetize these businesses?" Of course, I understand the need to balance the short-term with the longer-term needs because our revenues in growth serve as the engine that funds our innovation. But our emerging high usage products can generate huge new businesses for Google in the long run, just like Search. And we have tons of experience monetizing successful products over time. Well run technology businesses with tremendous consumer usage make a lot of money over the long term. 
 

Creating greater unity of form and design across the Google landscape is very much part of the corporate thinking, explains Page:   

We're very focused on improving all of Google, improving the sharing and identity across all of Google...One effort I've been really excited about is this visual redesign. We're definitely working hard to integrate our products better to make the user experience simpler, intuitive and beautiful and consistent...Google+ is also a great example of another focus of mine, beautiful products that are simple and intuitive to use, and actually was one of the first products to contain our new visual redesign. We also launched that beautiful, consistent and simpler design on our homepage, Gmail and calendar, with many more products soon to come. 
 

The most recent addition to the portfolio is Google+ which is still in field trial with limited access, but is already ranking up some impressive numbers. Page notes:   

Over 10 million people have joined Google+. That's a great achievement for the team. There's also a ton of activity, and we are seeing over 1 billion items shared and received in a single day. Our +1 button is already all over the web, and it's being served 2.3 billion times a day. So while we still have a lot of work still to do, we are really excited about our progress with Google+.

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