‘Drawing’ Conclusions – Google Yet Again Acknowledges Office Rocks!

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

Google Apps has yet again acknowledged just how awesome Microsoft Office is for Productivity in the workplace.  How else would you explain Google's new Drawing menu and it'sresemblance, no outright 'seperated at birth' look and feel to the Microsoft Office Drawing menu?  See their announcement and visual below.

Not only are the shapes in the same order from top to bottom, they are visually near identical.  In the 20% 'innovation' one would hope that the Google 'muse' would have led to a different take on visualization of drawing tools.  I mean, even something like a different layout or different order?  But then again maybe Google is acknowledging again that Office simply 'rocks'! (which it does by the way) 

All technology builds on the shoulders of previous ideas but when take an easy way out, you aren't innovating, you are just copying without doing the hard work it takes to understand why users like this layout, when to use them, how many people use them etc.  

This wouldn't be worth calling out if it weren't for Google's own constant marketing machine that they hold the keys to 'innovation'.  In Google's own "Innovation Webinar' which highlighted all the features they've added to Apps in the last year, I found only one, yes one feature that did not previously exist in Microsoft technologies in some form or fashion. (It was 'forgotten attachment detector' which is useful but shows they are scanning your email unbeknownst to you. Even though it appeared in 2008, they talked about it in 2010)

Clear as Mud - Redux

I ask Google Apps executive management to clarify: is Google Docs a replacement or complement for Office? 

  • If it's a replacement because not every worker needs Office ('Office is like PhotoShop' -read too many features)  and could get by with a simpler application, then why are you adding all the existing features of Office which you claim are not needed?  
  • If it's a complement which should make "Office better" then why am I paying $50 for something that only partially replicates what I already have and is the best application in the market?


Comments (42)

  1. Anonymous says:

    @MO  I think you are missing the point.  First, Google has taken a lazy approach to outright copy Microsoft Office nearly to the pixel.  That's behavior that is usually a sign of engineers who lack focus and commitment.  Second, my premise is that such a feature to insert drawings is in fact not simple but a more complex feature.  

    Google has done two things here.  Copied and then reveresed it's premise that the world only needs bare bones features.  As they add more and more features, why are the features they add somehow okay but at the same time when they exist in our product no one needs them?  

  2. Anonymous says:


    Thanks for reading and comment.  I understand your perspective and can see that angle.  My point was the contrary, that Google actually isnt innovating at all but taking our great innovation, near pixel for pixel and this is a troubling sign for them.  

    Customers care that you are 100% building for productivity tools for the enterprise. So when I see something like that, I think it's gives caution to their prospects.  Here I don't think anyone doubts our intent after 20 years to keep building great productivity tools with innovative features.

  3. Anonymous says:

    @HZ  The court case in questoin was actually Lotus v  Borland, NOT Microsoft.
    .  The point of my post is not IP infringement but rather innovation.  Google’s blatant copying demontstrates they are in fact not as innovative as claimed if they can’t even bring a new take to the space.

  4. MO says:

    so why not microsoft bringing this basic functionality to its web app?!!!

  5. Brent says:

    These posts come off as defensive. Customers care about what you can do for them. Showing how you innovated and most importantly will keep innovating is useful. Whining about how Google is copying you? Not so much.

  6. Brent says:

    @ Andrew

    I got your point. I just don't think it's the best way to position MS. Tell MS's story, let Google try and tell theirs. JMHO.

  7. HZ says:

    Many years ago, Microsoft Excel copied the menu layout of Lotus 1-2-3. There was a lawsuit on it and Microsoft won. Copy menu layout does not violate patent or copyright. This is just life.

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