Is Caffeine Google's Answer ?

The challenge with being “best at” and “BIG” is how tough it is to stay ahead of the competition. Even for a firm like Google. What made you innovative in the past can become less valuable and what a maturing changing market perceives about your product can become more important. Holding onto market share isn’t the same game as creating innovative solutions that create new markets. Google is starting to consider the implications surrounding this reality.

Google's most recent secret project Caffeine was announced yesterday but users will not notice any differences between the old technology and the new; at least not for a while. The purported goal of Caffeine is to index content faster. Google claims it is trying to figure out real-time relevant search, but that’s not the entire story.

So what is the new Caffeine project all about ? User perception or in other words “Marketing”. Microsoft’s “Bing” touted its search engine enhancements, focused on a few key channels, had positive reviews and partnered with Yahoo. If Microsoft had not created a new “Bing” brand no one would have noticed the change. Remember General Motors’ Saturn ?

Remember Wolfram Alpha, which was going to change the search world and catch Google ? Wolfram Alpha says it provides users “intelligence” and Bing claims the same thing. They saw Google’s weakness and attacked it.

What this proves is that for big companies like Google, you just can’t innovate under the radar anymore. Its becoming more about the market and the user and this is where perception becomes more important than the technology, hence Caffeine.

See Google’s new Caffeine product at Watch Jim Boot's excellent description of the new product on the video below.

Eric Schmidt On Transparency & Open Immigration

Google's head, Eric Schmidt, recently shared his views on a series of topics at the Aspen Ideas Festival. He addressed how "old" institutions are inefficient and in particular governments. His solution is transparency because as he puts it, "many bureaucrats know what they are doing is not effective". Schmidt goes on to question why the US attracts foreign students and then kicks them out, a significant impediment to retaining the brightest minds from around the world. Finally, Eric touts the excitement that instant translations tools and photo identification being created by Google will offer. Check out this brief 6 minute interview to learn more.