TECH TALK: Internet Tea Leaves: Googles Intent

Many people (other than Googles own staff!) have commented on Googles future plans based on their past product offerings and brought sharply into focus with their decision to raise $4 billion and launch the Sidebar and IM offerings. Let us sample some of the writings.

Walter Mossberg wrote in the Wall Street Journal:

For most Internet users, Google is synonymous with online search. Millions of people begin every Web session at Google’s famous, plain home page.
But that’s not good enough for the bright young upstarts who run Google. They want Google to be your constant companion even if searching or browsing the Web is the furthest thing from your mind. They are working hard to make Google software a fixture on computer desktops.

That is the aim of two new, free products the search giant released this week. One is an instant-messaging program called Google Talk, intended to be your primary means of real-time digital communication. The other is an information-management utility called Google Desktop 2, designed to become a permanent part of your desktop, grabbing space from Microsoft’s Windows desktop.

David Pogue wrote in the New York Times: In a single week, then, Google, the software company, addressed deficiencies in Windows, tried to create a grand unified chat and voice network, and opened up its clean, capable, capacious e-mail system to all comers. All of this software is beautifully done, quick to download and fun to use – not to mention freeWish they’d cut it out. Trying to figure out what this company’s really up to is enough to drive you crazy.

Greg Sterling wrote:

People are out there this morning second-guessing this: What is it; is it a preview of the rumored Google Browser or OS? Putting aside that speculation, this is a tool that functionally sits somewhere in between a toolbar and a browser (with a taste of OS functionality), allowing users to do a bunch of things without having to go to separate places on their machines or on the Web.

The tool gives users a running inventory of email, recent files and Web pages viewed, photos, stocks, weather, personalized news and RSS reader (“Web Clips”) and several other tools. In one way of looking at it, its an alternative version of the Google Personalized Homepage and Search History with an RSS reader thrown in.

Now that Google is the dominant search engine and making gobs of money people have become suspicious of the companys motives (“But what are they really doing here?”). From speaking to the product manager, Nikhil Bhatla, I dont believe that theres a hidden motivation or agenda behind this product.
Its a helpful tool that brings together a great deal of useful information in an accessible way. Of course, if users download and adopt it, it will reinforce Google usage. And that will necessarily come at the expense of some of Googles competitors.

David Card (Jupiter Research) wrote:

I guess the plan is to demote browser to “rendering engine,” and combine all its other functions into “desktop search,” er, that is, “Google Desktop.” Gee, it wasn’t that long ago when Microsoft set the agenda for personal technology nomenclature. What’s next, “operating system” becomes “device drivers” and “graphics libraries?” (File system functions are already under assault…)
I reiterate the mantra that built Microsoft: who controls the UI controls the user; who controls the API controls the programmer. Great businesses are made of this.

Tomorrow: Googles Intent (continued)

TECH TALK Internet Tea Leaves+T

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.