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How Soon Is ‘Soon’?

I got a lot of email and Twitter feedback regarding my skepticism regarding Google’s Duplex over the weekend. Here’s a point: Google has a history of making product announcements that they claim are imminent but aren’t. One example: they announced this seemingly-magical photo-editing feature last year, convinced the press it was coming “soon” — that’s The Verge’s word, not mine — and here we are a year later and we haven’t heard a word about it since.

I maintain that Google is wrong for the way it presents in-the-works not-yet-ready features. I think like Microsoft of old (and Apple of ancient times), Google, institutionally, is only excited about things that are in the works, not the things it’s actually shipping. But unlike Microsoft of old, Google presents concept videos without labeling them as concept videos.

But I think the other problem is with the media, that, time after time, buys into Google’s demo claims unquestionably — and then never circles back to them when they don’t ship.

**Update: Turns out Welch did circle back to this last week: “The Amazing Feature Google Promised and Never Delivered”.

Monday, 14 May 2018