Is Google Just an Oracle Wannabee?

I was surprised that my pondering if Oracle was cool again got so much attention, the piece from turning around my comment to ask if Oracle is as cutting edge and risk taking as google I think was intentionally provocative, but I’ll bite.

web20title.jpgSo what do Google and Oracle do, where do they make money? Oracle sells software and associated services to enterprises, a company thinks Oracle software can improve the way they run their business so they pony up for the license fee. I see Google as more like a broadcaster, like TV and radio stations they provide content that attracts viewers who they advertise to. When internet habits change and traffic moves to other sites, google need to own those sites to keep their ratings up.

I find it laughable, that somehow google is seen as cutting edge because it has some consumer level widgets and office tools that it gives away free, Now full disclosure here, I work in financial applications development, that takes enterprise apps (yawn) mixes it with accounting (bigger yawn) to make possibly the world’s least interesting job, I can clear a room talking about the finer points of Intercompany transactions and transfer pricing and the software we write to support it. However I’m not trying to be cool and from what I see google tries a bit too hard.

Google does try to be cool and cutting edge and people give them a lot of kudos for some things like google widgets, Google docs and other stuff on google labs. For me, half the stuff on labs.google.com looks like the results of a college project with a big hardware budget. Google docs, big deal, I put numbers in a spreadsheet and add them up, presentation software – type things in small and display them bigger – hardly cutting edge stuff.

And what has Google been doing with web 2.0? It bought blogger.com, feedburner and more. Google video was a bit late to the party so they bought youtube. Social networking? the check book has been out there too. Hey I hear you saying, what about Google Earth and maps? The technology used in that came from an acquired company. There is a long list of acquisitions Google has done when they needed technology, expertise or customers (ie. web traffic). They are also splashing 3 billion on doubleclick advertising.

Hey Google! You and Oracle aren’t so different after all – are we both cool, or both large established players protecting their turf using the cash flow from their market leading products?

Do you agree or think I have no idea what I’m talking about? Sound off in the comments.

6 Responses

  1. I agree with your assessment of Google. Coolness in this business is judged by consumers, not by enterprises. That’s not to say that enterprise apps don’t need to be more “cool”, but capabilities trump bells/whistles.
    It’s hard to argue that any established company is cool. Sustainability of the business runs counter to coolness b/c frequently coolness is a measure of risk in-aversion.

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  2. Jake – don’t get me wrong, I am acutely aware we need to innovate and provide ‘cool’ features in Enterprise Apps. I think my point is (if there even is one) that I am not going to sacrifice stability, feature functions etc just to look cool.

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  3. David (#11),

    Good comments David. A quick response I that wrote in the blog…

    Yes, the title of that post was designed to “catch the eye” — I plead guilty. However, my point is not that Oracle and Google are equivalent (although Google is more than an “ad agency,” as you know), but that it’s a company that has a very innovative reputation. I’d love to see Oracle have a labs.oracle.com site that showcases its experiments and risk-taking ideas. I do think Oracle has some innovative and high quality products — your own Financials product is certainly the latter — but does it have that “cool” reputation? That was the admittedly minor (and superficial!) point was trying to address.

    Cheers, Tim DiChiara

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  4. I beg to differ. Google is not providing content.

    It is just providing a cutting-edge search engine for content all over the world.

    This cutting-edge search engine in itself makes it an envy for all. Millions. Google is not cutting edge just because of its widgets, spreadsheets etc. Guess what Microsoft, Yahoo and all others are after? The same multi-billion dollar Search market which is dominated by Google. So comparing Oracle and Google is like Orange and Apples.

    just my 2c :)
    Nilesh
    Dashboards

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  5. There is difference between Google and Oracle products not in the company’s behavior.

    The difference is that the Google products are eminently usable without a 5K page manual like the Oracle R12 Fin Apps.

    Yes, financials are a lot more complex than google tools. But I do not have to do configuring in fifty different places to enter my budget or expenses in a google spreadsheet.

    And google UI is usable and elegant in its simplicity. Oracle FinApps are a PAIN to navigate. I almost on the edge of accepting that every other vendor except Oracle cares how the users interact with their applications. If you want to see what I am talking about check out the new Lawson and SAP UI.

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  6. James,

    I think it is wrong to say Oracle does not care about User Interaction, you should check out http://usableapps.oracle.com/index.html to get an idea some of things Oracle is doing to improve the Apps User experience.

    As for comparing entering a budget in a spreadsheet to setting up Oracle Fin Apps, I don’t that is a meaningful comparison. Google spreadsheets are essentially the same UI as Excel, they let you type in numbers and apply formatting an mathematical equations to them – hardly complex stuff. Fin Apps does indeed have some complex set up and in other posts I talk about how we should strive to simplify set up

    http://davidhaimes.wordpress.com/2008/03/24/agis-out-of-the-box/

    However there is a lot of set up, because it provides a lot of complex accounting and financial management capabilities.

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