Over the last couple of years I have said repeatedly that I felt Dodgeball was one of my favorite SMS based apps and the hottest in that particular space, and when Google snapped the company up back in ’05 I felt that it was a really great acquisition. It would seem however that things weren’t as rosy as they appeared given that the founders of Dodgeball who became part of the Google team just two years ago have just left the tech giant.
Speaking about the decision to leave co-founders Dennis Crowley wrote that he and Alex Rainert had decided to leave the company because they didn’t feel that they received the backing or the passion from the parent company which they felt that they deserved.
“The whole experience was incredibly frustrating for us — especially as we couldn’t convince them that Dodgeball was worth engineering resources, leaving us to watch as other startups got to innovate in the mobile + social space”
It is clear that things weren’t right and Google released the following slightly confusing statement shortly afterwards.
“Dodgeball was an early attempt at understanding user needs in this space, and we are continuing to evolve our thinking and our offerings. However, we have nothing to announce at this time,”
Whilst I appreciate that this is purely conjecture that statement from Google would appear to indicate that they were more than happy to drop some money on Dodgeball in order to learn about what made it so successful, then perhaps it was always their intention to let it or the founders go, in order to springboard onto something else. Google do have something of a habit of doing this, using their scale to eat up smaller companies with the idea of ripping it apart and taking the good parts, or indeed taking the business to new levels, they clearly didn’t see Dodgeball getting to that level.
I love the simplicity and the way in which Dodgeball operates and when it was bought in ’05 I honestly felt that Google would be the perfect place to take this SMS based service and launch into the new world. Around that time there were already some beta versions of live mapping software for computers and I had a sense that they may look to launch the product as a mobile/desktop mash up which would give increased visibility and increase the user experience. There may even have been an option to get this thing on PDAs but Google have clearly thought better of it, either that or they plan to sell it to Yelp and it now looks as though the original creators of this wonderful business have had enough.
I will be most keenly looking forward to what Crowley and Rainert are going to do in the future, two very bright minds who are capable of way more than Google have seemingly given them credit for.
What do you make of this decision?