I've been to so many big earth-shaking events from BigTechCo's -- today's Google thing is making me yawn, while my eyes glaze over in boredom.
Here's how products like this are conceived:
6. It has to be something only we can do.
7. Some place where we have the advantage.
8. Something people have no choice but to use.
So if you're Microsoft in 1999, you bake it into Windows.
If you're Google in 2011, you bake it into search.
All you do is make your core product heavier. The thing you wanted to kill doesn't go anywhere. It hardly notices what you did. The users might care to the extent that they're annoyed (or in the case of wordpress.com and their fear of being left out of the iPad, hugely annoyed).
The thing that makes Facebook great is that it incubated in the market with real users. It was made by real users. It was formed by actual use. One day at a time, one feature at a time, in public, every home run visible, and every mis-step.
Products like the one Google just announced are hatched at off-sites at resorts near Monterey or in the Sierra, and were designed to meet the needs of the corporation that created it. A huge scared angry corporation. What little is left of the spark that created it in the first place is now used to being Number One, and wants to feel that again. It's being created to make that person feel better.
Eventually they will become an investment bank and a services company. The fate for all former high-flying techco's.
PS: Apparently the software exists and people are using it. Hmmm.
Followup: Page's mistake.