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Gonzo Lives

Sunday, June 13, 2004

My Current Love Affair With Google.

But it's reasonable to wonder whether Google truly deserves to be considered a superstar long-term investment along the lines of say, Yahoo! or eBay.
- Source

Fuck the sharks in the Business World. Calling Yahoo! and eBay "superstar long-term investment[s]" without talking about why is silly. And talking about why without immediately seeing Google as being in their league is just plain ludicrous.

The reason that Yahoo! and eBay proved to be so successful, both on the Internet and on Wall Street is because they did their job well, and continue to. Both remain usable to loyal users and to this day rely more on text and usability considerations in their design than they do flashy graphics.

With a little steadfastness, Google will capitalize on its strengths amongst the masses the same way it has amongst the geeks and Internet savvy: it employs a devout team of computer science marvels to make it the most responsive and reliable product in any niche it's tackled. And it urges further innovations by requiring that employees devote a portion of their salaried time to R & D on side projects that might enter the Google fold.

One of these side projects that is still not officially sanctioned in Google Labs is Orkut. So obvious a side project that it's using Google competitor Microsoft's ASP.NET technology, Orkut is one team's take on social networking sites a la Friendster and Tribe. It wholeheartedly trounces both of them. Chief among features on a site that doesn't allow you to just add your current friends to a list and then scan a gallery for pretty faces of potential new friends is the ability to actually join communities of likeminded individuals and participate in conversations on multitudes of topics (my current community count: 43).

A Google Labs product that's garnering much buzz is Gmail. With unprecedented ease-of-use and a new approach to handling email threads, Google's stuck to its product model of staying true to the audience's needs and capabilities. And then they've thrown in a full 1 Gig of storage space. The ads that accompany each screen (and that are based on text that a server parses in your email) are unobtrusive and oftentimes helpful. Gmail is what email should be and, on some days, I find myself using it more than my domain-based, personal, address-for-life email.

Whatever business model Google sticks to, as long as it's not one where, saddled with investors, they begin to compromise R & D to maximize profit, I don't see how they can be slowed down when it comes to innovation and quality products. I'm inspired by Google's output to throw out my Microsoft Technology Toolkit and refocus on PHP and MySQL and buy a Mac. My only concerns for Google stem from my waning enthusiasm for another model company whose growth model bored me and left me overwhelmed and uninterested (possibly coupled with a newfound lack of interest in accumulating more consumer products aside from those that can be purchased in a local bookstore): Amazon.com. What began as an incredibly clean and friendly place to not only purchase products at reasonable prices that were received in a reasonable amount of time but also to gain access to lengthy reviews by actual consumers such as yourself has turned into a nightmare of customization and data aggregation, with constant boasting on Amazon's part of just how much they know about the product you're looking at, any/all products like it, and you, the logged-in consumer. Enough already. Give back some of the screen to some eye-pleasing whitespace.

But back to Google. Google has not peaked; its time has yet to come. I have to believe that innovation will remain key to success and when it's accompanied with a genuine and honest appreciation and understanding of how its users are actually using the products, more will come.

Spread the gospel.


At 1:02 AM, Blogger Jonathan said...

Yeah...bring it! Funny how all of this blogging business seems contagious. It's like "the wave" only not annoying.

Of course, after all that the Atom feed doesnt register in NetNewsWire...despite claims of compatibility. I even upgraded, jerks. [rss...rss...rss...]

And as for Google...they've tamed the internet in a sense, making it more approachable. If they continue to help people find the things they want (effective searches/contextual ads/human connections)...keep out the things they don't (12 million useless results/spam/superficial attraction) then they will win the hearts and minds of anyone who uses the internet

At 7:14 AM, Blogger MJR said...

Might I pose one inquiry, with all due sincerity and respect:

Is anyone consuming the RSS?

At 11:45 AM, Blogger Jonathan said...

Trying to consume it. If you changed the feed from Atom to rss in your blogger prefs I would be. Reminds me of an emo Philips joke:

"I'd like to pray an ecumenical prayer now...Dear Lord, please break the laws of the Universe for my convenience..."

At 7:26 PM, Blogger MJR said...

AH, I get it -- This isn't a push for the democratization of content via simple standards so much as it is feeding your aggregate.

Well, chow down.

I hope. Check it out. Feedburner claims to provide what the hungry crave, whatever their standard might be.

Bon appetit.

At 2:58 AM, Blogger Jonathan said...

You now have the esteemed priviledge of being included in my aggregator. Many thanks to you noble sir.


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