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The best way for businesses to remain relevant is to identify their internal weaknesses, attack them ruthlessly and eliminate those weaknesses before the competition exploits them or those weaknesses prevent your company from serving your customers to the utmost of your abilities. It sounds great in theory, but can be a very difficult thing to force yourselves to do. It can often be expensive and imprecise, but it can preserve your company’s long-term health whereas so many legacy companies have been discarded by the wayside for not embracing the influx of new technology.

I don’t think anyone in their right mind would accuse Google of failing to embrace change or technology in the performance of its businesses. It’s one of the most innovative companies the world has ever seen with sprawling arms in all different manner of inventions and improvements for every kind of technology you can imagine (and probably some that you don’t).

But, that doesn’t mean Google doesn’t have weaknesses within its core products — weaknesses other companies would love to exploit and profit from.

One such weakness lived inside one of Google’s most important flagship products — maps.

Maps are one of the our smart phones’ most valuable features. From an advertising standpoint, and a Google revenue standpoint, highlighting specific venues in a city can push people to different restaurants or bars, etc. based purely on Google recommendations. From a consumer’s standpoint, Maps help us navigate unfamiliar cities without having to stop and ask for directions all the time, printing out paper maps, or buying the folding kind. Even for residents of a city, if you’re in a neighborhood you’re not familiar with, Maps can get you home or to that new restaurant everyone’s been buzzing about. I would venture a guess that Maps are one of the most used apps in the mobile arsenal of most American consumers.

With it playing such a central and pivotal role in our everyday lives, it’s imperative Google gets it right. It’s even more imperative that it continues to remain the leader in this field.

What was Google Maps’ core weakness? Working offline.

So what did Google do? They fixed it. Before someone else came along and exploited that weakness.

Outside Magazine put the new feature through the ringer in the way only Outside can, and found it works amazingly well:

“How Well Do Google Maps Work Offline? Absolutely Flawlessly. Last week, Google announced it will make its maps available offline. We tested the new feature in New York and South Africa—and found the service works brilliantly”

That’s high praise from an outfit known to put gear through the gauntlet. It’s a valuable lesson for enterprises too. Google self-identified a weakness in a core product offering and went about fixing it before it cost them customers, business and revenue.

Think about the chinks in your company’s armor and how you can repair them before they become fatal flaws. It might just save your company some day.

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