Google, Inc offers an array of products and services to all of its end-users. However their search capabilities are the foundation for Google’s current success and their primary business focus. Currently, Google offers over twenty different search applications that allow users to search the internet for books, maps, videos, images, products and much more. Their product decisions have allowed users demands to be met while focusing on the free based model. This allows users to access Google data free of charge and indirectly gives Google a strong competitive advantage of other competitors along with the accuracy of the search results.
According to Google, Inc, they offer the following types of searching capabilities:
- Get email updates on the topics of your choice
- Blog Search
- Find blogs on your favorite topics
- Search the full text of books
- Custom Search
- Create a customized search experience for your community
- Search and personalize your computer
- Search for definitions of words and phrases
- Search the web, organized by topic or category
- Explore the world from your computer
- Business info, news and interactive charts
- Find and connect for free with businesses from your phone
- Search for images on the web
- Search thousands of news stories
- Patent Search
- Search the full text of US Patents
- Product Search
- Add a search box to your browser
- Explore past and present search trends
- Search for videos on the web
- Web Search
- Search billions of web pages
- Web Search Features
- Find movies, music, stocks, books and more mapping
Google’s free based business model is only one way it differentiates itself from its competition. There is also a strong focus on the accuracy of search results and the speed in which they are returned to the end-user.
Quality function deployment (QFD) is a structured method used to help connect user needs to the design features of a project proposed to address those needs. This method is particularly useful in accounting for needs that are not easily articulated or precisely defined according to the U. S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration.
Due to the fact that QFD is so customer driven Google is always in a constant state of change in attempt to reengineer its search algorithms, and other dependant systems so that end-users requirements are constantly being met. Value engineering is a key example of this, Google is constantly trying to improve all aspects of its products, improve system maintainability, and system interoperability.
Bridgefield Group defines value engineering as an organized methodology that identifies and selects the lowest lifecycle cost options in design, materials and processes that achieves the desired level of performance, reliability and customer satisfaction. In addition, it seeks to remove unnecessary costs in the above areas and is often a joint effort with cross-functional internal teams and relevant suppliers.
Common issues that appear when developing large scale systems like Google’s search applications include modular design of a product and/or service and providing accurate value analysis.
A design approach that adheres to four fundamental tenets of cohesiveness, encapsulation, self-containment, and high binding to design a system component as an independently operable unit subject to change is how the Open System Joint Task Force defines modular design.
More specifically M. S. Schmaltz defines modular software design as having a large collection of statements strung together in one partition of in-line code; we segment or divide the statements into logical groups called modules. Each module performs one or two tasks, and then passes control to another module. By breaking up the code into "bite-sized chunks", so to speak, we are able to better control the flow of data and control. This is especially true in large software systems.
Value analysis is a process to evaluate products and services based on effectiveness, safety, and cost. Value analysis involves assessing the quality as well as the cost of a product or service as defined by the Healthcare Financial Management Association.
“Operations Management deals with the design and management of products, processes, services and supply chains. It considers the acquisition, development, and utilization of resources that firms need to deliver the goods and services their clients want.” (MIT,2010)
Google, Inc encourages an open environment between all employees, also known as Googlers. This is reinforced by a cross-section team or cross-functional teams comprised from multiple departments assigned to every project so that every department like marketing, finance, and quality assurance has input on every project. In addition, Google is known for their openness to new ideas regardless of the status or seniority of an employee. In fact, Google allows for 20% of an employee’s time can be devoted to developing new ideas and/or pet projects.
HumTech.com defines a cross-functional team as a collection of people with varied levels of skills and experience brought together to accomplish a task. As the name implies, Cross-Functional Team members come from different organizational units. Cross-Functional Teams may be permanent or ad hoc.
Google’s search application product strategy primarily focuses on mass customization. This is allows Google to create a base search application and allows results to be returned to the end-users quickly based on specific parameters and search settings. In addition, they also store the data that is returned in case other desire the same results based on other end-users supplying the same customized settings. This allows Google to appear to render search results in virtually real-time to the user while allowing for complete customization of the searching criteria.
Greg Vogl, a professor at Uganda Martyrs University, defines mass customization as when a business gives its customers the opportunity to tailor its products or services to the customer's specifications.
The IT staff at Google play a key role in ensuring that the search application’s product strategy is maintained simply because the IT staff designs, develops, and maintains all of their proprietary applications. In fact, they also maintain all network infrastructure to ensure that it is available to all end-users.