A characteristic of true innovation is that a new product/service is "new to the world". In new products planning, product developers can easily be seduced to the dark side and copycat someone else's offering. Or they go for line extensions (adding functionality to an existing product) and package it as new.
Historical data consistently shows that new products need to be highly differentiated in order succeed. So the question of this summer is - is Google a true innovator?
The people at Google have been busy this summer - announcing another stock offering, Google Earth, Google Desktop Beta, Google API's. Now there's Google Talk Instant Messenger. The Download Squad has a review - here is a link to their review.
Back to the question - in my opinion, given this summers' launches, Google is a true innovator. With one exception - Google Talk. It can be seen as a copycat product. All this productive effort is missed when you read that Google is getting too big, too powerful and losing its entrepreneurial spirit (New York Times article)
Who cares! If Google can continue this pace of innovation it will push the entire industry forward...Now that's something to look forward to in the coming months.