“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it.” - Steve Jobs

More on Google vs. Yahoo Maps

C|Net ran an interesting strategic planning article and its effect on design choices while looking at Yahoo and Google maps.

The underlying premise of the article is that on one side you have a group that is just building new products in a hurry to just see where they land and then if the core stabilizes they’ll begin to put effort forward to try to integrate those successful products where appropriate–That would be Google.

In the other corner is Yahoo, which focuses on cores as well, but with a more stronger integrated model. They are also stronger at completing the feature picture that users/consumers are used to, and this is made VERY apparent in their Mapping offering compared to Google.

This take is an interesting one because it demonstrates how important an overarching design and business strategy is to the design process. While both styles have value and have certain levels of success, it can be argued that they equally bifurcate the total (very large) marketplace across these lines. Maybe, there are 2 different markets even within these fairly horizontal sets of features and consumer tools. But what is more important is that their success in these areas are probably directly linked to the clarity of their business and design strategies.

Having a clear vision and direction allows you to create a single line of experiences that can be connected for the end-user. The total experience then works as a reinforcement agent guiding users and building brand capital.

Normally I would stop there, but I want to add that Yahoo is looking in my estimate as if it is changing and will have to figure out how to bring people along while they make these changes. Their change is in their design direction in becoming richer, and their business direction in that they are moving everything towards their more socially connected model. It’s an interesting time for Yahoo users.

Google on the other hand is staying Google from soup to nuts. As stated in my previous article pitting the two mapping tools against each other, I do think that Google should worry a little bit, or start pushing the features on their system. The expectations from Expedia Maps (MSN Maps), Yahoo Maps and MapQuest (AOL) are pretty strong and while Google Maps “gets me there quickly” they lack the auxiliary features that users crave when it comes to mapping. This may lead to the inevitable “less is less” reality that creeps up on people.

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