For those of you who know me … you know that I love Google. Google’s search engine was a savior for me in college, and their Google Scholar Program is just what students need to look up information for that term paper or research project.
Looking for specific information in a textbook? Well, Google has introduced the thing for you. At http://print.google.com, you can actually search the text of scanned books, helping you find pin-point information.
Google has definitely moved beyond just a great search engine for images and information. Since going public and raising billions of dollars in stock, Google has been able to develop the means to make Google your portal to the world. In August, Google launched Google Desktop, an amazingly smart program that searches the web for you. By learning your surfing activity, and latching on to RSS feeds that you visit, the Google Desktop is constantly searching for information of interest for you, as well as includes your own computer in searches when you are looking for information!
Another way Google is sticking it to the competition is the Google homepage. Much like AOL’s users homepage and Yahoo!, Google has enabled users to create an account and set up various news feeds, an e-mail preview, weather, movie listings, etc. all on their own homepage.
August also saw the launch of Google Talk. This program is still in its infancy, and in my own opinion having a hard time getting off the ground. First, in order to use Google Talk you must have already registered for a GMail account (e-mail me for an invite, I have 100). This isn’t necisarily too bad because GMail is an awesome e-mail provider that has an awesome SPAM filter and gives you over 2.5 GB of free storage. However, Google Talk is not compatible with the already popular AOL Instant Messanger, MSN Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger programs. This is proving to be a tremendous barrier, as it is hard to convince all of your friends to make that type of switch.
Google is attacking the competition all over the place. The company owns Blogger, which hosts the Blog you are reading now. Google also has a Groups service similar to Yahoo! Groups, except by Google. Not to mention Google Earth, which is an awesome mapping program that literally flies you around the world via satellite photos.
And if all of these programs meant to make Google part of your every day life wasn’t enough, news recently broke out that Google is in the process of building a national Wi-Fi network! News of this was all over the internet today, when a software called Google Secure Network became available. It’s purpose? To create a secure environment for Google Wi-Fi. This, partnered with all of the purchasing of unused lines the company has been doing lately, has prompted people to consider, “When will Google go wireless?” Can you imagine a world where you can turn on your laptop anywhere, and Google is ready to give you a free connection? That would literally cripple the competition.
Some may say Google is taking over, and using the information you make available to them easier to target advertisements. I say let them! The advertisements that appear are generated by a sophisticated computer program that ensures the ads are relevant to you … they are even USEFUL! And if Google is making it easier for me to find the information I need, I am happy to have non-intrusive, text based ads around my browser, instead of pop-up, pop-unders and those annoying java based ads that don’t go away. That is why I am using Google’s AdSense program, which makes the advertisements you see on this Blog available. They even pay me a percentage of their income!
Needless to say, it is fun to watch Google build its empire at the expense of AOL and Microsoft, who are now discussing a partnership, utilizing the strengths of both companies to shield themselves from the marketing and development genius of Google. I guess all you can really do is wait, and visit Google Labs regularly to see what new stuff Google has in store for us!