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For Google, its entire product lineup is just a big series of A/B experiments.
"Google likes to have multiple, competing products that go after the same user base. That way, if one product doesn't work out, hopefully the other one will."
If you want a back-up plan, just compete with yourself.
Google just released a new email product called Inbox, which no doubt will cannibalize many Gmail users.
Good write-up by Ron Amadeo on Google's approach to product marketing and product management.
They do it with their developer tools and languages as well. There's AngularJS, Dart, Angular.dart, Polymer, Node.js, etc. There's even two version of Chrome (Chromium). They are huge and have so many teams working on so many things. The tools and languages serve various smaller purposes that may differ...But honestly a lot of the tech could probably be used for the same thing when you get down to it. Their A/B testing is also on developers too, not just consumers. Google is just a strange animal =)
Node is not a Google technology.
Back in the day (i.e. when I still had hair), Microsoft under Bill Gates did this as well but more on the downlow. They thought of it as 'internal Darwinism', i.e. two or more species of product competing for internal resources. We also did it at AT&T back before the big breakup in the 80's. It's something you can do if you have a monopoly market position and want to hold it. Google appears to have institutionalized it.
Interesting. I've never worked at a large company like that as a developer, so I'm always surprised by this kind of stuff. The amount of funding to be able to sustain that model is just staggering. Makes me wish funding for technology was spread out more. It's so vertical. So redundant. I feel like we just don't make as many advancements as we could.
It's really interesting how Google and Apple have so fundamentally different approaches in product development, and both develop amazing products for millions of consumers.
I've never heard of this, but it makes sense since so many people get blindsided by a new competitor when they could have solved the problem by competing against themselves. Starbucks will put two stores close to each other just to keep other shops out of the area and they're getting into the tea business before it's taken off. Slightly different, but reminds me of attempting to beat the competition to the next product trend.
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