The Graveyards at Google (Google Docs and Dodgeball)

I am a big user of Google Docs, mostly for personal notes, record-keeping, and brainstorming.  I find it super-convenient to be able to access my files wherever I am from whatever computer I have.  It is a big improvement from the disks I used to haul around 15-20 years ago.

I recently bought my first iPad.  I am excited to no longer have to haul around a laptop, particularly through airport security lines, but it confounds me that Google has no app to make Google Docs user friendly on the device (or on my iPhone for that matter).  Given the usage, why not have a few engineers build an app for my tablet?

This is part and parcel of the lack of investment into Google Docs.  There is the most basic of functionality that is lacking on the word processor, spreadsheet, and the other components.  These deficiencies are no mystery.  One can find these shortcomings on all sorts of forums.

It’s been almost 6 years since launch — why hasn’t anyone at Google gotten to these?

The confounding thing, in addition to widespread customer frustration, is that this was a potentially lucrative opportunity for Google.  Few have great things to say about Microsoft Office, but it pulls in over $20 billion annually for Microsoft.  Wasn’t taking on the MS Office juggernaut the logic behind Google Docs?  Why such a lack of attention given the size of opportunity?

I have always been a fan and defender of Google’s innovation, but Google Docs just makes me scratch my head in disbelief.  It makes me question Google’s capacity to innovate.  Perhaps it links back to the stories of entrepreneurs such as Dennis Crowley, who have sold something to Google (Dodgeball in Dennis’s case), just to see their passions ignored and left to wither at the vine.

I’m confounded at what is happening at Google.  Does anyone know?