Google has released many products and "betas". Some of them have little to do with search, like their online word processor and spreadsheet programs. Google has been widely criticized for many of these side products, even to the extent of being called a "one hit wonder."
Now recently I realized that there's something special about these other product releases. You may know another thing that people say is unusual about the Google company: they let employees spend about 20% of their time on a pet project of their own. Some of these blah side products are the results of those pet projects. Google Marketing doesn't throw cold water on every one of the pet projects their employees complete. Rather, they let the employees see how the world feels about their special ideas, and learn from that.
This is fabulous feedback for a creative employee, and no matter how bad the pet project is, their next project is likely to be much better. Google is tough enough to take the criticisms and let their employees have the total learning experience. In the long run, this strategy's likely to produce some great stuff.