I was a bit surprised today when I saw Matt’s Jaiku post about Google buying Jaiku. (See Jaiku’s announcement and Google’s blog post.) Now, I know this is a conversation that’s been going on a long time now and has been a concern for many, but it still just really amazes me and kind of catches me off guard at just how much of my everyday online experience occurs on a google.com domain or through some site that’s owned by Google.
- Search the internet (Google)
- Look up images (Google Images)
- Find directions (Google Maps)
- Watch videos (Google Video/YouTube)
- Post to my personal Blog (Blogger)
- Check traffic (Google Maps)
- Find lowest online prices for purchases (Froogle)
- Read the news (Google News)
- Read/post to newsgroups and mailing lists (Google Groups)
- Get stats on my websites (Google Analytics)
- Develop/collaborate on documents, presentations, spreadsheets (Google Docs)
- Read my RSS feeds (iGoogle)
- Develop my personalized, interactive browser home page (iGoogle)
- Find files on my computer (Google Desktop)
- Check email (Gmail)
- Chat with friends/colleagues (Google Talk)
And these are just a few of the things I/we do every day. I’m impressed that Google went with Jaiku instead of the much more publicized Twitter. Proof (to me, at least) that they’re going for quality. With this in mind, I’m wondering what’s next?
- Will Google snatch up its own share of Facebook — just enough to edge out Microsoft? Sure Google has Orkut, but Facebook is huge … and growing exponentially… and follows the same clean and simple design that Google’s known for.
- Will Google somehow woo Flickr users to its own online photo storage tool? (I’m just not a fan … currently … of Google’s Picasa. IMHO, Yahoo’s Flickr is still the powerhouse in this arena.)
- Will Google overthrow the metaverse by releasing its own virtual world, eclipsing current favorites such as Second Life? Heck, we’ve already been building that virtual world for them. Check out all the cities, buildings, structures, etc. that have been built in 3-D by you and me using Google’s Sketchup software.
Wouldn’t it be great to sit in on a meeting at Google where they’re discussing all their upcoming projects/mergers. I wouldn’t be surprised if we found out our future includes:
- Google Weather – They already have the maps. Now they just need to buy out The Weather Channel or Intellicast and overlay their weather maps.
- Google Vacations – We (you and I) are already adding in the user reviews into Google Maps for hotels, restaurants, and attractions. Google already has a way to purchase goods/services via Google Checkout. Now all they need to do is buy out Expedia, Travelocity, or Priceline.
- Google Movies – Google already can distribute media via Google Video or YouTube. Now they can buy out Netflix so they have the video-on-demand capabilities. Definitely subscription-based.
- Google Library – This one’s a little tricky. Like Google Movies, would probably be subscription based. (Plus they’d have to figure out a way to restrict printing/saving/etc.) Google’s already scanning library upon library of material. Now just make it available to users to read books cover to cover. Throw in the ability to search news/journal databases, and college students worldwide would sign right up.
- Google Conferencing – Combine Google Talk with plugins that enable a collaborative whiteboard, group voice chat, and application sharing, and you’ve got your own web conferencing tool. Watch out Elluminate Live and Horizon Wimba.
But enough dreaming. You guys can continue speculating in the comments. (It’s actually really fun pondering what Google will do next!) Needless to say, I’d be very interested in seeing this mythical Google phone we keep hearing about. Surely this device will give users very easy access to Google services… which is pretty darn impressive considering what we’ve just talked about. Steve Jobs might be a little concerned about this, come to think of it.