Google's Biggest Flops

No company is perfect, not even Google. Earlier this year, Google (Stock Quote: GOOG) decided to open its first ever online store so users could purchase the company’s Nexus One phone without having to go through a cell phone carrier. Google had high hopes that this site would provide more options for consumers and at the time, some speculated that Google was inching into Amazon’s (Stock Quote: AMZN) territory. But just five months after the idea was first announced, Google has shut down the store, all but admitting that it was a complete and utter failure.

"As with every innovation, some parts worked better than others," the Vice President of engineering wrote on Google’s blog, announcing their decision. And in truth, this sentiment has been part of Google’s philosophy all along. Unlike most companies, Google seems to genuinely relish the trial and error process that goes along with innovation. The company has its hand in seemingly every industry from mobile phones to social media, and is now looking to get into the television market. Google can supply broadband to communities and even has a division that is authorized to buy and sell energy.

More than that though, Google is known for turning out an endless series of Web tools, many of which have fundamentally altered the way users engage with the Internet. There are dozens of little-known “experiments” currently available on the Google Labs page. Google Transliteration promises to allow users to “type phonetically” and whatever you’ve entered will then be translated into a language of your choice. Then there’s Green Robot, an add-on for Gmail, which performs the all-important task of displaying robot icons next to the name of a person you may be chatting with online.

With all that innovation, it’s no surprise that Google experiences a flop once in a while. Of course, some are so skeptical of Google and eager to see it fail that they will even label their successes as failures. Case in point: One blogger actually claimed that Google Maps was a huge mistake because it can be used to “help terrorists with bad intentions do their strategic planning.” But you don’t have to look too hard to find examples of Google’s missteps. Their flawed experiment with the Nexus One store is in good company.

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