This week, Google is holding its annual developer conference in San Francisco. But, where past conferences were focused on major hardware and/or software announcements, the 2013 conference is focused on improvements to Google Play apps and core services.
According to an article on Time.com, “The company isn’t trying new things, but refining old ones. It’s not announcing new hardware, but touting the devices it already has. New hardware and software will come, probably later this year — but only after Google puts spit shine on all its apps and services.”
You might expect techies to be disappointed with so many seemingly small-bore changes — especially in a culture where the “next big thing” is always The. Next.Big.Thing. But Google recognizes that small innovations—improving its map app, introducing a rival music subscription service and (my favorite) new cards for Google Now — are essential to gaining and restoring consumer trust.
This isn’t a paean to Google’s awesomeness. As they’ve become a colossus, it’s increasingly hard for them to “Don’t be evil.” But companies should still emulate Google’s commitment to constant innovation.
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No, Google I/O’s announced product and service upgrades won’t change the world. But, by shoring up deficiencies and improving on services that already work well, they’ve demonstrated a commitment to their loyal customers, while making a strong bid for new ones. Great and lasting innovations are driven by Big Ideas — but tinkering with something good to make it great can be just as revolutionary.