In the Larry Page era, wither the splashy Google product launch?

October 28, 2011

Remember the days when Google had big splashy product launches?

It almost seems like a bygone era, with the Web search giant now appearing to favor a more muted approach to product unveilings.

The change in style may reflect the change at the top, with Larry Page, Google’s famously laconic co-founder, taking the CEO reins in April.

Consider Friday’s unveiling of the revamped Google TV service. All the key media outlets were pre-briefed on the news ahead of time, resulting in the usual blanket of press coverage. But there was none of the fanfare that accompanied the rollout of the first version of Google TV, during which CEOs from partners such as Intel, Sony and other companies took the stage at Google’s developer conference last year.

Of course, Google TV did not exactly set the world on fire, so it’s not entirely surprising that Google is taking a more low-key approach and trying to keep the hype in check this time around.

Similarly, Google opted not to have a launch event for Google+, perhaps one of the company’s most significant new product offerings this year, when it announced the product this summer.

That was in stark contrast to the company’s previous foray into social networking. The much-maligned Google Buzz was introduced at a big event at Google’s headquarters in 2010 attended by Google co-founder Sergey Brin and other Google executives, but never managed to gain traction with consumers.

Google’s newfound restraint is unusual in Silicon Valley, where no new product feature or partnership is too small for a celebratory launch event.

And there’s certainly something to be said for a “speak softly and let the product speak for itself” approach. But in a world where big-name competitors, from Facebook to Apple, are staging high-profile events, let’s see how long-lived Google’s new low-key strategy proves to be.

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