October 28, 2004

GoogleWorld: Google to Own Your Desktop. Short Microsoft.

With the huge momentum and capital built up by Google in the past year, it's only natural to wonder what's next. Many say, with the advent of Google Desktop Search (We note in passing that Google has no time for the Macs of the World), the Google Browser. But really, isn't that just so 1990s? Browser wars? Been there, done that, have the T-Shirt and the stop-loss forms. So, the real question is "Just what does Google want?"

The answer isn't long in coming. Google wants the world and it wants it ... if not now, by and by. D. Weinberger at Joho seems to be on the case with: Google browser browses the world. He looks at some recent purchases and releases from Google and states google+google=world. What would this item from Google ultimately look like?

It would not be a Web browser. It'd be a world browser. It would find pages on the Web, of course, but it'd also find the ones on my desktop (Google desktop). It would know about my email (Gmail). It would know that my own photos are categorically different from all the other jpgs on the planet (Picasa). It would let me browse the physical earth (Keyhole) and show on a map the documents that talk about any particular place (Keyhole Google Local).

And it wouldn't be just a browser. It would let me work with the information I've found: Manage my photos (Picasa), manage my desktop files, translate documents (Google Languages), shop...

If that's what Google's aiming at, they need a file manager (no big deal) and would probably want to have a e-wallet and maybe a digital ID offering (Whoogle? currently owned by AK PRadeep in Berkeley).

The result would replace current browsers but wouldn't look much like them. You'd do so much of your daily work in it it that it would feel more like a desktop...

...which is where it gets really interesting.

Desktop? But isn't that real estate pretty much owned by Redmond? I wonder why Steve Balmer at Microsoft is spending his time spamming, ranting and railing at Open Source. Seems to me that the Microsoft Oasis is being slowly surrounded by sneaky little seach agents with gleaming scimtars clenched in their geeky little teeth. Then again, Microsoft has a habit of batting last.

Yes, this is where it gets really interesting....


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UPDATE: More interesting already...

In the comments, urthshu notes: "I'm fairly certain that we're going to wind up with a net-resident distributed OS in the next 10 years, and I'm betting Google does one as soon as the relevant contracts [they'll need a major deal with a cellular company] become available. "

Well, perhaps 10 years is really just around the corner with Google SMS. This application was rolled out on the 8th of this month with the catchphrase: Just text. No links. No web pages. Simply the answers you're looking to find. The service allows you to send text queries to Google and get answers back. Yahoo ( quickly becoming the Netscape of Search) was quick to jump in too.

Georges Hallick director of new projects at Google said at launch: "A core belief at Google is that we try to learn more from real usage rather than trying to figure out everything ourselves."

Google SMS is available from AT&T Wireless, Cingular, Nextel, T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint. It may be that Google is trying to learn which service to go with. Then again, why would Google pick one service when the real uberlink is to have all services pick Google.

Posted by Vanderleun at October 28, 2004 9:35 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Heh. Google says they're not doing a browser, but they haven't gotten into what they might do. I'm fairly certain that we're going to wind up with a net-resident distributed OS in the next 10 years, and I'm betting Google does one as soon as the relevant contracts [they'll need a major deal with a cellular company] become available.

Posted by: urthshu at October 29, 2004 8:16 AM