This paper provides a critical analysis of the article entitled, “Google, Lagging Amazon, Races Across the Threshold Into the Home.” There were three key issues discussed in the article by the author. The first issue was Amazon’s introduction of the Echo device and the impact it had on Google. A second issue discussed in the article is Google’s vulnerabilities and its strategic response to Alexa. The third key issue was the reasons why Google was unable to introduce Google Home prior to the Echo. These three issues are going to be discussed in the paragraphs below.
In 2014 Amazon introduced the Echo device. By launching the device first Amazon beat Google who had been working for years on a voice control virtual assistant for tablets and smartphones. Companies that introduce products first gain first mover advantage. First movers are able to increase the value of the brand of the product by aggressively advertising prior to the entrance of competition. Amazon’s strategic approach was more effective because the organization released the Echo with the purpose of showcasing Alexa, the company’s artificially intelligent assistant software (Wabayashi, Wingfield, 2016). Once the product launched the firm formed a large team of software developers to create applications for the product. Some examples of the uses of Alexa include dimming lights in your home, playing music, and requesting transportation services.
Google has invested resources in technology and research and development to solve complex problems, but the firm hasn’t been able to turn its expertise into creating desirable consumer products. Despite its past failures Google was able to finally finish the development of its new product and launch the Google Home device. This product has artificial intelligence software that enables its users to interact with the device through voice commands. The software is called the Assistant. The goal of the company is to utilize the Assistant software in phones and tablets. The fact that the artificial intelligence is still a new product in the market gives Google the opportunity to close the gap between the company and the market leader Amazon. Google has to invest heavily in advertising Home Google to raise brand awareness. One of the strengths of Home Google is its advanced search capabilities.
The corporate structure of Google was extremely ineffective to foster an innovation environment. The decision making system of the firm was decentralized. There was poor teamwork within the company. Google used different locations to work on important projects associated with the development of Home Google. For example the voice search and android system development teams worked independently instead of in a joint effort. The lack of communication between the project leaders led to inefficiencies. An acquisition Google made was buying in 2014 Nest Labs for $2.4 billion. The knowledge gained through this acquisition was being wasted as Nest Labs seldom collaborated with the rest of the company. Google’s focus was improper as it spend too much time and resources on ideas that never manifested themselves and were not aligned with its goals.
The three main issues discussed in the article showed how Amazon was able to outsmart Google despite the company not having the superb expertise in search engine technology Google possesses. The Echo device entered the marketplace first. This provided Amazon with a competitive advantage over Google. Home Google was a product development that quickly closed the gap between Google and Amazon. The product had impressive features including an artificial intelligence comparable to Alexa. Poor organizational structure and improper development of an organizational culture were reasons that negatively impacted the ability of Google to introduce Home Google prior to Echo.
- Wabayashi, D., & Wingfield, N. (2016, October 02). Google, Lagging Amazon, Races Across the Threshold Into the Home. New York Times.