Google Maps launched two cool new features yesterday : in-app music support and new commuter tab. Here’s what the Verge reporter Casey Newton had to say about that. And, I totally agree with him.
Google Maps delivers useful updates more regularly than any other app at its scale https://t.co/zwlfZSubFrOctober 1, 2018
This line of thinking makes sense intuitively. On the flip side, consumer products are constantly fighting for our mindshares and have to constantly deliver fresh experiences to keep us engaged. This variance in expectations of target markets could perhaps explain the variance in how fast Docs and Maps improve. That being said, Docs is also used as a standalone free consumer product by hundreds of millions of us. So, I don’t see a major reason not to innovate faster on it. After all, there are ample other alternatives like Quip and Dropbox Paper. What Google has going for it are its brand and ecosystem lock-ins for consumers.
When I think about Slack, I can see how unexpected bottom-up explosive growth and lack of direct sales early on pushed it to become a fast moving consumer company disguised as an enterprise company. But, that theory breaks down when you put Docs in a similar context!
So, I guess, as with most startup theories, we tend to take something that’s descriptive and try to make it predictive. No one was talking much about “consumerization of SaaS” or bottom up growth with direct sales layered in later until fairly recently. We see what worked for a few well known companies and try to pontificate way too much.
Here’s another explanation for the variance that I hadn’t thought of :
There’s so much here.
One big thing imho: there’s just so much possibility in maps that the big thing is just picking. It is so early in mobile maps.
Docs has not been interested in winning over Microsoft or on mobile so struggles.
Also teams structured very differently.