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Google's religion about keeping its homepage "clean" is now getting in the way of its product development. The site need not look like a NASCAR hood, but the hyperlink is a useful invention, and Google should start using it.

Remember Google Finance? Half a year ago, Google Finance debuted to rave reviews, startling the snoozing market leader, Yahoo, into action. Rumor has it that in the past six months the Google Finance team has even launched more impressive innovations. But have they? Who knows? To check out Google Finance, you have to type "Finance" into the search window (or stumble into the Finance section by searching for something else that happens to be contained within it). And who wants to bother to do that when you can stay on Yahoo and just click a link. Who can even remember to do that?

Google Real Estate? Seemed mighty cool when they launched a while back, what with those neat mash-up balloons and property maps. Does Google Real Estate still exist? Who knows?

Google Answers? Another neat idea, one immediately copied by Yahoo (or maybe Yahoo had it first). Either way, Google Answers is now no more. Why? According to Forbes, because Yahoo Answers had 24-times as much traffic. And no mystery why that is: Yahoo promotes Answers on its front page.

In an attempt to explain why Google axed Answers, Forbes quotes Sergey as saying, “What we are concerned about is that if we continue to develop so many new individual products … you will have to essentially search for our products before you can even use them.”

Okay, but is the problem really that there are too many products--or that users don't want to bother (or can't remember) to search for them? Before Google shoots services that users went gaga about and then promptly forgot, could the company at least experiment with another solution--links? Although the status-quo zealots will scream (they always do), the rest of Google's users will just say, "thank you" and click right through.

Source: Memo To Google: Time To Try Links