A few days ago Google launched a new “image search” user interface to the public. If you haven’t tried it yet you should go ahead and give it whirl–after reading this post. My first impression was wow! I really like how the images are positioned in a way that maximizes all available screen real estate.
As I continued to search for images and test out the new UI, I had this feeling of deja vu. Something didn’t seem right with this search feature. For some reason it felt like I had used this before. And, then it dawned on me! Certain aspects of Google’s new image search resemble Bing’s image search. The most notable similarity is the absence of pagination navigation at the bottom. This feature change alone on a search engine can stick out like a sore thumb and create a remarkable difference in other similar image search engines like Yahoo for example.
Many say that imitation is the highest form of flattery. But in business, there’s sometimes is a fine line between flattery and insult. And when the corporation at hand can drop millions in legal fees on a daily basis, the insult can have a devastating impact.
But if you are Google that doesn’t matter. Why doesn’t it matter if Google blatantly copies the features of its competitors? It doesn’t matter because Google dominates a majority of the market. Which means that the vast majority of the folks running image searches have never even tried Bing’s innovative features.
Likewise it doesn’t matter if Kevin Spacey imitates well know actors because let’s face it, it’s an honor to be imitated by Kevin Spacey!
Having a strong brand isn’t just about making more money or building trust. Often times it’s also about playing by a different set of rules, and sometimes creating your own. So as you grow your business remember that even though there are other ways to create revenue streams, nothing can replace the power of strong brand.