points us to an interesting idea proposed by Andy Beal: that while competition from Microsoft and Yahoo wasn't putting very much pressure on Google to keep innovating in ways to keep users happy, the worldwide financial recession is serving that purpose instead
. Financial crises can certainly drive companies to be more innovative, though it's certainly not a pleasant experience. Of course, innovating through a recession is also a lot trickier than innovating against a competitor in good times. It takes some different skills than innovating against competitors. They do both involve focusing on customer needs, but those needs change in the down times. The challenge for Google (or, well, anyone) is recognizing that shift in consumer needs and making sure that any changes are designed to serve those new needs, rather than just the old ones.