Originally Posted by cloudgazer
Google's approach to IP is different, partly because they are primarily a server side firm. Mostly rather than patent something such as their search-rank algorithm, they will prefer to keep it as a trade secret. They do have patents for example on MapReduce, but most of their IP crown jewels like BigTable and GFS are closely held secrets.
Originally Posted by cloudgazer
Did you ever use any of those other search engines? Most were slow, all had horrible visual design. Many included advertisers paid links in the search results, along with banner ads and big slow-to-load ads along the side panels. Relevancy was atrocious. Google transformed the search experience with both exceptional speed, exceptionally relevant results and a better advertising model.
Lots of sites had webmail sure, but GMail was transformative - not so much because it has labels instead of folders - but because it gave orders of magnitude more email space. Back when GMail launched it gave users 1GB of mail space, hotmail back then I believe offered 2MB and Yahoo 4MB.
Innovation doesn't just mean making something wholly new, it means making something transformatively better. Much of Google's innovation is in its infrastructure, which allows it to deliver web services with unequalled scale, reliability and performance.
There are plenty of bad things that can be reasonably said about Google, but claiming that they have never innovated isn't one of them.
A true voice of reason, as usual. BTW, I believe they have patents pertaining to Bigtable, search and GFS. Will try and look them up. This is not straight forward because Google does not have a habit of listing the company affiliations of inventors on their patents, making the search a bit trickier.
Here's a quote from a book studying Google Patents: "Google’s database inventions by themselves make it clear that Google’s research unit has superseded Bell Labs and Xerox PARC as the place for technical innovation in the U.S., if not the world." Interesting that Apple is not mentioned.
I use Macs and Windows PCs (along with Linux), and prefer Macs by a long shot. I bought one of the first Macs ever. I have iPhones and Android, but use iP4 as my primary device. I have purchased both iPad and iPad2. Despite this, I feel it is only fair to recognize that Apple's innovation is in integration rather than in fundamental technology development. Multitouch, smartphones, tablets, all-in-one computers, music players etc. have all existed before Apple. If Apple didn't exist, different forms of these products would still be around. Arguably, no one would have made the final package as user friendly as Apple. And perhaps no one could have popularized them the way Apple has done. But still, Apple has NOT developed any fundamental innovations.
Google, on the other hand, has done things at a fundamental level that Apple has not, cannot and will not. In fact, so has Microsoft. It's a tough pill to swallow for those who want to believe Apple shines across the board. But the innovations from Apple and Google are simply very different. Despite all the money I have spent on Apple products, I'd say Google's influence on my life, both personally and as an engineer, has been far more profound.