Google is well known for its capabilities in advertising, search technology and web-based software. However it is weak at developing desktop-based software (its successes on the desktop, like picasa, are acquisitions). It’s interesting that sometimes, its weakness in one area affects its strength in another area. Here’s an example: google video. While trying to upload to google video, I learnt that the “uploader” software doesn’t work. It fails to login, and even when it does, it ends up spending a long time uploading, after which those files do not actually appear online. Lots of people have had problems with it. Now it may surprise you that a multi-billion dollar company cannot write software to do this simple task, and hasn’t been able to fix it despite user complaints over the past 2 years, but again this is desktop software that Google isn’t good at developing. You might ask why I wouldn’t just use a browser-based uploader? The reason: Google’s browser-based uploader is limited to small files, while its youtube service imposes a 10-minute limit, not enough for an academic lecture, in this case last week’s IPRIA Conference. Google has now decided to give up, and will soon stop offering uploads of videos altogether. It is therefore ceasing to compete in the market for longer videos, which include higher-resolution HD videos, as well as video-hosting of lecture-length. So, Google’s weakness on the desktop in this case is contributing to the failure of its strategy on the web. Me? I’m handing my money over to vimeo.