Google is not killing (innovating) enough projects

It is vital for companies like Google to regularly kill some projects in order to foster innovation. As businesses strive to stay at the forefront of technological advancements, they must constantly evaluate and prioritize their initiatives. By discontinuing certain projects, companies can redirect their resources, talent, and capital towards more promising and transformative endeavors.

Terminated projects over time

Let’s look at the number of projects killed by Google from 2011 all the way to 2023.

The chart illustrating the number of projects terminated by Google exhibits an intriguing trend. From 2011 onwards, there appears to be a relatively stable pattern, with the count of killed projects remaining relatively consistent. This stability suggests that Google had found a balance between maintaining ongoing initiatives and making strategic cuts to foster innovation.

However, around 2019 to 2021, there is a noticeable uptick in the number of projects being terminated. This period coincides with the COVID-19 pandemic, which significantly impacted various industries and forced companies to reevaluate their priorities. It is plausible that Google, like many other organizations, had to reassess its projects during this uncertain time and make necessary adjustments.

Interestingly, in 2022, the chart reveals a decline in the number of terminated projects by Google, suggesting a shift in their approach towards innovation. This decrease indicates that Google has chosen to reduce the exploration of new ventures and instead focus on consolidating and refining their current initiatives.

Should they innovate more?

The question of how much companies like Google should innovate and the number of projects they should start and terminate each year is a complex one. While innovation is crucial for any technology company to stay competitive and meet evolving user needs, it is equally important to strike a balance between quantity and quality.

So should they increase the pace of innovation? on the one hand, starting and terminating 100 projects a year might seem excessive, as it could lead to a lack of focus and inefficient allocation of resources. Managing such a high number of projects simultaneously could spread the company’s efforts thin, potentially hindering their ability to deliver impactful results. It could also create a sense of instability and uncertainty within the organization, affecting morale and long-term planning.

On the other hand, reducing the number of projects further could allow Google to concentrate on larger, groundbreaking endeavors, such as AI solutions. Focusing on a smaller set of projects would enable them to allocate more resources, expertise, and attention to each initiative, increasing the likelihood of success. This approach would also facilitate deeper research, development, and refinement of these projects, potentially leading to more innovative and transformative outcomes.

It’s all about balance

Ultimately, based on the pace of innovation in the last 12 years, it seems that Google’s management believes that they have found the right balance, as they keep the number of projects they start and terminate at a similar level. They should probably continue re-evaluating this policy, as they continue exploring new ideas and taking calculated risks, while also ensuring a strong focus on projects that have the potential to drive significant impact. Striking this balance will allow them to remain at the forefront of innovation, leveraging their expertise to create cutting-edge technologies that positively shape the future.

What about the users perspective

While Google’s management may believe they have struck the right balance between innovation and project management, user expectations continue to evolve. Google users, as a demanding and tech-savvy audience, expect more from the search industry. They anticipate transformative changes and advancements that keep pace with the latest developments in AI. In addition to search, users desire more innovative solutions in areas such as email, map navigation, and numerous other services. Innovation remains a key driver for user satisfaction and loyalty. To meet these rising expectations, Google must continue to prioritize innovation and invest in cutting-edge technologies that push the boundaries of what is possible. By staying ahead of the curve, Google can not only retain its user base but also attract new users by delivering innovative solutions that enhance their digital experiences.

Projects killed by Google over time

This list is based on information from Killed By Google, which continuously tracks the projects terminated by Google over time.

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