It's getting harder every day to articulate what Google is. Is it a Web company? A software company? Something else entirely?Even worse, these new products have the whiff of executives being unable to let go of their past battles.
It's not just that it's hard to see how [Google's operating systems] fit into Google's stated mission. It's also that it's hard to explain to someone exactly what they are, or why they might, or might not, want to use them. Or to communicate why they are different from or better than any other things out there.
These new products have the whiff of engineers building things for other engineers, rather than you and me.
For decades, Google CEO Eric Schmidt led Sun and Novell in mostly failed attempts to build thin client computers. At Google, Eric appears to be doing it again.
But Google is not a computer company. It is an advertising company. Google makes its money from advertising.
It is not as if there isn't enough to do in advertising. Despite Google's success in making search advertising more useful and helpful, most other advertising remains awful.
Fixing advertising not only would be lucrative, but also it directly fits into Google's mission to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." At their best, ads provide useful information about interesting products and services. Right now, most contextual and display advertisements are more annoying than useful. It doesn't have to be that way.
If Google could be the solution to annoying advertising, it could reap all the rewards. Instead, Google is being led off by its generals to fight the last war.