Software, Digital Content, Geopolitics, Economics & More from of a Libertarian Serial Expat and Entrepreneur
Pushing this entry back to the front after its first publication in October 2004. It’s fun to see what’s been right about it, and what already looks quite old context. It’s from the pre-Youtube/Facebook/iPhone era!
Despite the buzz, I’m not really excited about Google working on a browser or IM client, though I definitely can imagine them buying Trillian and giving its Pro version for free. I guess they’ll negotiate interop with AIM and they might even force the hand of Microsoft and Yahoo, which would be a Good Thing.
But looking at Google Desktop and its local web server comes a more intriguing thought. How about partnering with or acquiring a large ISP/WISP (say, Earthlink) to deliver an affordable service bundle with symmetrical bandwidth, static IPs, reliable DNS, and self-publishing with Blogger, Picasa and Hello. Let millions of personal web servers bloom and piggy back on that big wave of user-generated content.
Google would basically re-index their customers’ sites (just a directory on their desktop really) on the fly, and share the results with the rest of the world (or not) based on user settings (do not confuse the wedding pictures and the honeymoon sex tape, ok). And now it makes sense to give software for free because you have other ways to bill consumers and learn about them. How’s that for increasing targeted ad inventory while diversifying your revenue sources, and wiring yourself into people’s life as well as within the fabric of the internet?
There might also be a side business out of caching in there for Google, they already have part of the infrastructure and would only need to move to the edge. (Hmm, ok, looking at Akamai’s $150M in yearly revenue, caching is not that exciting from Google’s perspective at this point.) Add P2P (the Hello angle) to that to take care of content propagation so that publishing something popular is not asking for a DDOS.
Anyway, imagine the landscape 5/10 years from now with ubiquitous PDA/cam/phones/whatever, lots of connectivity all around, more occasions and ways to generate content and to put it online instantly. Uploading pictures to a damn server with restricted storage just to share them with friends and family is akin to going to the telegraph office to send messages. It’s just a transient state in the infrastructure that doesn’t make any sense in the long run (provided we eventually get decent security on the desktop).
Google is not going to win against Microsoft or even decisively beat Yahoo by going through predictable motions. GBrowser is just a way to wave a red flag at Microsoft with “please come and squash me” written on it. I find it funny that the same people who get all wet about the GoogleOS are claiming that operating systems are a commodity and there’s no money in there anymore. So why should Google do it then?
Instead, Google has to keep being disruptive and unpredictable. Microsoft never made much out of its broadband investments, Yahoo is humming a boring song with SBC, AOL TW is toast. Incidentally all seem to confuse the Internet with TV. Maybe Google could really turn the tables. It’s all about empowering end users…
Right now even Altavista is better than Google at indexing media content. A first telling sign would be a Google Images that doesn’t suck. We’ll see (literally).
In other news, I’m amused to see CNet slowly wake up to search engine optimization techniques that we small fish have been using for years. First they started stuffing keywords into their URLs, now they look at their referrers to welcome Google users and suggest other relevant stories besides the one displayed. Wow, leading edge!
01/19/05 update: CNet: Google wants ‘dark fiber’.
05/05/05 update: Google Web Accelerator.
08/18/05 update: Free Wi-Fi? Get Ready for GoogleNet (speculation too).
09/09/05 update: Cerf’s Up for Google.
11/25/05 update: Google’s Shipping Container.
02/15/06 update: All Your Information Are Belong to Google.
09/24/07 update: Google plans new undersea “Unity” cable across Pacific.
01/24/08 update: Broadband Capacity Is The Alternative Minimum Tax Of The Web.
02/10/10 update: GOOG’s experimental fiber network
02/17/10 update: How much should Google be subsidized?
03/17/10 update: Google traffic
06/2013 update: Introducing Project Loon: Balloon-powered Internet access
I'm CEO of an online trade publishing firm in the marketing and defense verticals. We try to make news and data digestible and useful in an environment that is more noisy each day. This personal blog mixes my thoughts and interests on politics, business, software, and more, based on my business and personal experiences. Over the years I have posted items that turned out spectacularly wrong, and a few posts that stood the test of times better. Personal views only.