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July 2011


Natasha McEachron

On the one hand I get your point regarding the possible dilution of the Google brand. On the other hand, as a user of Google products I’m not really concerned with the name; I care more about what the tool does and why I should use it. Keeping or changing the names Picasa and Blogger won’t get me to use those services unless they introduce features that make me want to switch from Flickr and Wordpress. Their current branding method might be a good idea for getting users to try additional tools because everything is in one place and they don’t have to guess at what the services do.

However, I do take issue with Google Video. If there’s already YouTube and that’s all about videos then what exactly is Google Video? I don’t care enough to investigate so I just choose to ignore Google Video.

Clipping Path

Google is Google. No one can take the place of Google. Google never going to die.

Dan @ InSync Marketing

"Great online utilities"!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME???

Who thinks like that?

Google is a search engine to any normal human being. It's always "google it" - Google IS a search brand, the worlds most powerful one.

That being said it is true that the I use other services alongside the search engine, such as Translate. I just see them as added tools to the google search engine.

I don't use Blogger, why would I? What do google know about Blogging? I have Wordpress for that!

Forget Picas, I have Flickr for that, and Google Videos? when does anyone use them - You just go to youtube for videos.

I used to use Google Docs, until EVERNOTE came along.

I think Google can do 'added extras' very well, but totally different things like Google Pics, Google Blogs - while they will be successful to some extent I'm sure, are never likely to be world-leading brands.


Articles like these put the conumser in the driver seat—very important.

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naver ...google today gone tomorrow

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For this matter, once I discussed with one of my friends, not only about the content you talked about, but also to how to improve and develop, but no results. So I am deeply moved by what you said today.

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Wow this looks so delicious! I need to try this back at home, I cant wait to server this to my kids. Thanks for the great recipe.

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Google is a giant king. The king of internet, no matter what haters say, Google will always be on top of the internet. Great project, Google always has innovative ideas. Thanks for sharing!

Brand Johnson

The mind admires the complex but embraces the simple. Only by understanding how perceptions are formed in the mind can one learn how to create categories.

What mind has the ability to comprehend 1000's of brands? No mind can do this which is why it creates categories. Google is a mess which is why many top employees are leaving. They should be implmenting a P&G strategy by creating multiple brands with new names.

While phrases like "date collection" and "organizing connections" may sound cool it will never reach the mind of the mass market.

Simple sticks in the mind.

Allan Finkelman

While I agree that over-extension has diluted the Google brand, that doesn't necessarily mean that all brand extensions are wrong-headed. In this case, I think that Google is correctly trying to do two things.

First, they must protect search, their core strength. Increasingly users are going to pages from social media rather than through search. It would be foolhardy to stand idly by and watch search power dissipate and not develop a strategy for winning.

Second, after several failed attempts at jumping on the social media bandwagon, this may be an opportune window. Whether or not Facebook is potentially a Google killer, it's power, ubiquity and hold on users' time is a threat, to say the least.

Great brands innovate. Great brands evolve. Great brands stay relevant. I don't know if Google+ will win or lose, but I think it's a viable shot at not having the social media train leave without them.


Here's an alternative thought: Google is about sorting information. That's their mission. Organization. Google+, with circles, attempts to organize social connections in a meaningful way. This isn't Linkedin is the business network and Facebook is the party. This is one place to meet and have meetings.

YouTube and Android don't actually fir the mission, and thus should not be renamed. I actually think Google has a bigger issue with Picasa and Blogger, neither one seems to represent their core strength. But Picasa actually does a good job of organizing your computers pictures. And I suppose Blogger helps one organize their thoughts, but both are stretch.

If a service fits with the core "organize the world's data" then I don't think they are comparable to AOL or Yahoo. Yahoo was always trying to be a portal (after it failed to be a search engine). I actually think Yahoo is a nice portal, there just isn't as much money in that.

Anyway, nice post. Got a lot of people thinking.

Laura Ries

Google Plus will not kill Google especially not in the short term. It isn't Plus that is dangerous as much as the thinking that is behind it and what is next.

What worries me about Plus is what do I call it? I just got an account. I know how to Facebook and Twitter. But what am I doing on Google? Are we on the Plus? Are we plus-ing? Googling?

The line extension is a name problem for me. If Google is everything than it loses the simplicity of search. What then does Google it mean?

John Jantsch

Hey Laura, not to pile on here, but, okay, I will you missed the mark badly on this.

Part of the reason Google was so desperate to jump into social with something like G+ is to save it's golden goose - search and PPC.

I'll agree they've stumbled a bit trying to figure this out, but they've hit it with G+ and the connection to their brand that extends to now to a place where what we really should worry about is how strong their brand and business will become.


I think Google will continue to grow and only get better, and as their competitors see that their competition will only dwindle.

Stephen Woessner

Hey Laura...you are spot on with this post. Look at the Bells...whatever happened to that wonderful brand of AT&T...is SBC happy that they were folded into the stronger brand. And now what? The success of Google in the search market has been their razor sharp focus on search. But, now with social playing a role, and lots of other acquisitions as you pointed out, new products like Android, etc. it makes me wonder if Google is opening up a door for a new stronger competitor? I doubt that the next search leader will be Bing...but just like Yahoo! lost its focus and tried to become a more diversified media brand...so too may Google with their attempt to Google-ize so many products.

JAT Source

nice post.thanks for sharing.


I have to disagree with this post Laura. I have used Google for 11 years and Gmail for 7 years. Most of my impression about Google is that their brand is "great online utilities". I use search, but I also use News, Docs, Translate, Reader. Furthermore, I have worked for a number of companies which used Google Apps for their core enterprise tools (email, docs, sites, blogs). That only enhances the "great online utilities" brand.

Moving Picasa into the Google brand (great online utilities) wan't a bad move. It was number 3 (at best) in the photo-sharing market. Moving Blogger was good too, because although Blogger is a popular blogging platform, it is not the best one. And bringing those tools into Google enhances the "great online utilities" brand.

Keeping Android out is good move, I agree. That is because Android is Google's mobile brand, and it is a separate value proposition from the core Google brand. Ditto for YouTube, because YouTube is a media broadcasting platform.

The one thing Google didn't do well in the past was social networking, but Plus is a good stab at this. I tried plus, and although it is good and I think I can use it, it is not a Facebook killer for me....yet.

I don't think Google is going down Yahoo's path. Yahoo merged "online utilities" with "media company" and ended up with a brand which didn't mean anything. I think that AOL blew it because they set up a walled garden of a large number of dial-up users and didn't realize until it was too late that the rest of the world had migrated to high-speed internet and no walled gardens. (Also, they also confused their "online utilities" and "media company" brands, and their mail servers were slow).


and to add further whether it is Google or Apple or Microsoft or IBM ultimately a brand does lose out which is the lifecycle. So as Microsoft has lost its sheen, Apple and Google has picked, at one point of time due to whatever reasons these brands will also go down. It has not much to do with Google Photos. So you Laura will always be right in stating that Google lost because it did this and that which is against the 22 laws. But at the same time can you give an example of a brand which has not lost out or not gone through bad times because it followed the 22 laws.

Francois Descarie

I usually tend to agree with you Laura but to be honest, I don't see how Google could brand that many entities without losing its mind. The sheer size of the company, as well as the continuous addition of new products makes it quite difficult to manage the master brand and its offsprings (more numerous than at Apple for example).

Moreover, Google now almost acts as an endorser for the new services, accelerating their penetration and terrifying competitors (remember the IBM effect?).

Also, the integration/fragmentation phenomenon is not that clear to me and adding specific brands could prove to be useless as Google integrate many features under a single roof/portal/account.


Virgin seems able to extend the brand.


I mostly disagree on this one. I think for the most part, Google has managed to maintain its brand identity through its many extensions, because it has chosen extensions that support the brand.

For me, Google never just stood for "search"--even when it was just a search engine. If it did, I would have stayed with Lycos or Yahoo back in the day. They worked okay. I switched because there was something about Google that was better.

I don't know what Google's actual brand statement is, but I can put my own perception into words: Google makes data smarter. Easier to find, filter, organize and experience. I was one of the earliest adopters of Gmail, Google Docs and Google+. In each of those cases, the benefits weren't even clear to me at the time that I joined. I joined because I trusted that they would eventually make it a better way to manage data--even if it didn't initially.

There's certainly been exceptions. When Google launched Chat, they admitted they were only doing it because everyone else has chat. People complained about it not because it didn't work--but because when Google launches something new, we expect them to tell us how they've found some cool, streamlined, more logical way of doing things. It's a testament to Google's brand power.

I think Google should have kept the names Picasa and Blogger, but I don't think "Google Photos" hurts the brand. I'm sure they'll keep finding ways to improve the photo data management experience. Blogger, on the other hand, is just another blogging service. I'm not sure I see how "Google Blogs" supports the brand identity.

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