John Battelle recently posted a conversation he had with SimplyHired CEO Gautam Godhwani in which Google's ability to deliver applications was questioned. Battelle's position takes the view that applications need to be built on top of search, which is, from a technology point of view, not really accurate. Search is an application built on the analysis and representation of data. Other applications can also be built on similar or differing analyses. For example, if I am going to build an application to deliver automated product review summaries, I need something to analyse the data to detect product mentions and opinions - this is not built on top of search, it is text mining, computational linguistics, etc.
Anyway, the point about Google's ability to deliver applications is timely. Their recently launched free version of Urchin - the web site stats tool - couldn't be more embarrassing. Firstly, the service died on the first day leaving even paying users without stats. Secondly, I keep getting a message telling me that data will be available within 12 hours. That works for the first 12 hours, but after that first period it just looks silly.
The rest of the deployment is also poorly executed. When clicking the link to learn about who has access to my data, I get the message:
The requested URL
/support/analytics/bin/answer.py?answer=26786was not found on this server.
What is forcing Google to deliver such rubbish? Didn't they test it?