It has been really interesting watching Google manouver its way into being the next Microsoft of the web. I'm not sure if Google will run into monopolistic issues but I am certain that Google will be the dominant platform of the not so distant future. It's not hard to see if you simply look at Google's investments in terms of what it has purchased and built.
Until the emergence of Google Apps, Google seemed destined to be a search engine that generated a tonne of revenue from its advertisement capability. It had odd offerings here and there that seemed fragmented at the very least. As soon as it launched Google Apps, it was rather obvious that Google was building towards the business markets as well. Looking at Google Apps for the very first time, I couldn't help but think about how close the offering was to Microsoft Exchange; it offered organizations the ability to host email, share calendars and even offer instant messaging capability. With the additional capabilities of wiki, blogging and document sharing, you essentially have most of Sharepoint's capabilities. It's hard not to offer small clients to use Google Apps as it is easy to setup with minimal operational and maintenance cost.
Google reached further to the consumer with Android and Chrome. The reasoning behind it really is simple – it's about control. The hardest thing about developing any software is the inability to determine where it is going to run. One of the most challenging thing about developing for Zoocasa is that we have to cater to a large number of browsers. A lot of our code gets "dirty" to account for the way different browsers react to different pieces of the code. So Chrome makes sense. The strategy would be to develop functionality that would work best on Chrome before venturing out to other browsers. The other thing to note is that the browser is the new desktop. The browser is by far the most used application that I have as it is the window to how I manage my life. I still use Firefox as my primary browser, venturing into Chrome every once in a while.
Android is particularly interesting for me. The one thing that Apple did right was that they limited devices and the Apple App Store was simply brilliant. Google seems to be building the best of both worlds. There already is an Android App Store and by choosing HTC as their first manufacturer, you can be certain to find Android on traditionally Windows Mobile devices. Android will give Google the ability to reach a user in the most personal of spaces. Outside of my wife, my mobile device is my next closest confidante. I have it with me wherever I go. For instance, on this trip, I have my phone but have left my trusty Asus R1F at home. Given that Google has a whole battery of web services, Android makes a tonne of sense. Right away, Android would be a killer device if it integrates into all of Google's core apps like mail (including contacts), calendar (including tasks), reader, news, picasa and of course search.
FriendConnect is going to be interesting. The function that I see it to be most useful is to be an LDAP-like service. One of the most frustrating for corporate users is to have to have multiple login ids and passwords for multiple systems. The web is littered with many small applications that make our life simpler. If FriendConnect can simplify this, it would make life simpler for webizens every where.
What most people fear about and rightly so is handing so much personal and private info to an external entity. This will be Google's Achilles heel and something that they will have to maneouver and struggle with over time. But that being said, Google is going to be the platform to contend with in the WWW.
Sent from my HTC Touch Pro®