Facebook came out with a search engine yesterday.
That sounds familiar.
Facebook has a bad habit of making a big deal about launching products that come out half-baked, and never really take over the world.
- Facebook PR invited lots of press to launch of Facebook Places a couple years ago. VP of product Chris Cox gave a very emotional speech. The product was basically a stripped down version of Foursquare, but without the game-mechanics, badges, or restaurant recommendations. Do you ever use Facebook Places to check-in to a restaurant?
- Facebook Offers was a Facebook's Groupon-killer – sort of. Despite a big announcement, Facebook never really rolled it out across the country, and eventually shut the whole project down.
- Facebook Email. Facebook hosted a big event to roll out its email killer. But the product lacked standard Web email features users can get with Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and lots of other places. When's the last time you sent someone with an @facebook.com address an email? Have you ever?
Another common thread to all these launches is that Facebook executives will tell the gathered press that their new product is in beta, and that it isn't supposed to be a replacement or "killer" of any known products in the category.
After a while, those caveats start to sound like excuses.
How about launching only launching things that are as polished as an iPhone and as destructive to competitors?
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