Monday, April 03, 2006

For good or evil, Google grows

TheStar.com - For good or evil, Google grows

I normally respect quite a few columnists who provide great insight into things I am interested in. The Toronto Star's Tyler Hamilton, Antonia Zerbisias, and the Toronto Sun's Sue Ann Levy are but a small sampling of newspaper columnists I read on a regular basis.

Tyler Hamilton provides thought provoking columns on a variety of technological issues and trends that might arise in the future. He covers everything from electrical generation (i.e. wind power) to computer gadgetry to the latest items on the internet. Usually he is quite up on the latest information on the issues revolving around technology.

However, I was disappointed in today's column found on the front page of the business section in the Toronto Star. Hamilton started off well discussing what products Google has created recently and why these products have become so successful. But near the end he starts wandering away from his obvious well researched column into this:

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So where's Google heading with this and the dozens of other products — real or experimental — it has unleashed online?

You've got to wonder whether the company even knows the answer to that question.


Is there a master plan — a grand design — or is this just a case of throwing out the dots and connecting them later like constellations in the sky?

Google's rivals such as Yahoo and Microsoft must be frustrated.

Like chess champions, they're more vulnerable playing against someone whose moves are unpredictable and disconnected, detached from the methodical planning behind most traditional business models.

Say what you want about Google, but for a company that swears to do no evil it has all the complexity and mystery of an evil villain genius.

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If Hamilton had of even bothered to read The Google Story he would have learned the whole secret behind Google's success is the "Twenty Percent Time." This twenty percent time according to The Google Story, including such popular inventions as Google News, Google Maps, and Froogle. The concept of twenty percent time has lead to the explosion of popularity of Google because Google's staff has been allowed the time to check out their interests and figure out how to invent a superior product that provides great usability to the user while keeping things simple. That is the strength of Google. That is, for example, why I prefer Google maps over mapquest.com. But I digress.

Tyler Hamilton may also have missed by not reading the book is that Google is set about to basically become the index of the world's information.

So that is what Google is doing. It is not simply putting up the dots then connecting them in a sequence. I see Google as a spiders web. Google started with a basic search engine that made them popular. Next came the questions of how to make finding information, other than simple text on millions of websites, more easier? This question is probably what spawned the idea of searching for pictures, marketplace products, news, and much. Google basically said lets aim at being the best at cataloguing this information. Then Google as a company, started branching out even further into the idea of books, e-mail and whatever else they could think of. All of these new ideas came about from the twenty percent time that employees were allowed to take.

Is it mysterious what Google might look at cataloguing next? Yup, Google never ceases to amaze me at what they might think of next. Is it mysterious what Google might overall do? No, Google is just slowly extending its web outwards and onwards. Now that Google has virtually run out of ideas on what items of information need cataloguing, the company has moved towards figuring out how to its customers can get the information even more conveniently. The most convenient way to make the information the most convenient via the internet is to go wireless. Only the future will tell if Google is able to successfully connect this dot to its existing web.

Hamilton seems to have missed the basic premise of Google that would have made the company's master plan and, thus, the products it relaseas now and the in the future more clear.. But, unfortunately in this case, Hamilton didn't finish his research by reading a crucial book, The Google Story.

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