17 Dec

Best Web Bigco of 2006: Google

first_imgThis is the third annual Best Web Companies round-up from Read/WriteWeb (see 2005 and 2004). This yearwe’re spreading it out over 2 separate posts. In this post, we announce Best Bigco andthe runners-up – with our special brand of analysis too. In our next post, we’ll announceBest Web LittleCo of 2006 and the Most Promising Web Company/Innovator.Google: influential and all-round impressiveWe lead off with a somewhat predictable choice for Best Bigco of 2006. In the poll weran to ask which Internet bigco most impressed you, 53% of respondents voted forGoogle. Despite this, for a while we were tempted to pick Amazon (which was second in ourpoll with 14% of the vote), due to its outstanding innovation. But when it came down toit, Google’s influence and impact throughout 2006 has been second to none – so Googleonce again gets the Read/WriteWeb Bigco of the Year honor (it was also the firstrecipient, in2004).In terms of what Google released in 2006, there was a lot of it! Some were products ofreal promise: e.g. Google Base, Google Docs& Spreadsheets, a much improved Google Reader.But also there were some relative clunkers: e.g. Google Video didn’t live up to the hype,‘Google Apps for your Domain’ was clumsily named and marketed, their PersonalizedHomepage lacked oomph (although there are no lack of gadgets for it). In terms of newproducts, Google’s 2006 effort will be remembered most for their canny acquisitions: notonly the big one, YouTube, but alsotheir Web Office purchases Writely and JotSpot.Overall though, Google’s product range remains impressive. Theirmainstays, search and Adsense/Adwords, grew even more dominant during 2006 (although bothhave threats looming against them in ’07). Meanwhile Google’s new products in 2006displayed enough potential to make us think: well this company may not be a two-trickpony after all. Looking ahead to 2007, we have our eyes on their Web Office moves inparticular, not to mention a possible OS!Amazon: innovative, but not quite enough impactIn terms of sheer innovation, it’s hard to argue against Amazon being the mostinnovative of the big Internet companies this year. They had unique web app releases thatstarted in late 2005 (e.g. Mechanical Turk) andin 2006 rolled out a WebServices platform (Alexa web services,S3, EC2, and more). But inthe end we had to question whether Amazon’s innovation made a big enough impact on themainstream market. After all, to be Best Web Bigco you need to be making a differencein the lives of normal people. Regarding their e-commerce platform, which certainly is mainstream, it was business as usualthis year for Amazon – nothing spectacular in that department.Apple, Yahoo and Microsoft: interesting…What about the other bigcos: Apple had another impressive year and were rightly in thetop 3 in the R/WW poll (13%, just behind Amazon). There’s no doubt they are a stylish andinnovative company – and if this were just about digital media, Apple would be hands-downwinner of Best Web Bigco.Last year’s R/WW Bigco winner, Yahoo, had a mixed year. There were some great productsand upgrades – a new-look Ajaxhomepage, YahooMail, microformatsgalore, great useof APIs, YahooGo to span devices. But there were also questions… are they a technology company ora media company? Is it Flickr or Yahoo Photos? These issues came to a head in the nowinfamous peanutbutter memo in November.As for Microsoft, well they had a good year with the rollout of Windows Live and theirnext generation web/desktopdevelopment platform. There is a sense they’re playing catch up (e.g. with Zune), butMicrosoft showed in 2006 that they are a formidable competitor. And now with Ray Ozziein charge of software innovation, they have a Web Native champion to push them forward.2007 may well be Microsoft’s year, so Google needs to be on its game!SummarySo what do you think – do you agree with our choice of Google as Best BigCo? Well 53%of you said you did, so perhaps the better question is – do you agree with our reasoning?And what of the threats to Google in 2007… will it finally be the year Microsoft walksaway with the coveted R/WW title of Best Web Bigco? 😉 Or will Amazon’s web services innovations go mainstream? Perhaps Apple and digital media will be the next big thing – and don’t count Yahoo out in that domain either.But for now, it’s Google’s year! richard macmanus Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Tags:#2006 in Review#web#Year in Review Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostinglast_img

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