Quo vadis, google?

I collected some thoughts about google and want to write them down – more for me than for everyone else 😉

Everyone is talking about what google will do next – is it the google operating system? Is it a googlised linux? Or a setup package for Windows XP and Vista which will turn the complete msn-based Windows into a google based Windows?

I think that google does not really know itself! I mean, sure, some things are clear: google has its focus on web based services, and ajax will play an important role in it – but what’s with the rest?

Let’s have a short look around: google aims on the web – sure, it is easy to proove because they have several web based services, and have, for example, hired one of the authors of Firefox. With gmail, orkut (by the way, I want to test the last one, has anyone a free inviting for me?) and blogger google has the base to provide a kind of useful virtual live, which is now extended by google talk.
And to provide some nice extras and to show that they are really able to search through everything they have google earth – besides it is very nice to build up a new kind of web based marketing (“Find the closest McDonalds just with a mouse click!”).
Last but not least they connect all information on the computer to the rest of the internt: the google desktop search provides the ability to search through all documents on the computer and to show these information even if you search the web.

But there are some things which do not fit into the picture:

What’s about Picasa? Why do they have this? Sure, it’s nice, but where does it fit into the product suite? If they had a picture service like flickr it would make sense, but in this case? What has google to do with pictures?

And the instant messenger google talk: that is a interesting piece of software, but to competete with skype you have to show more than a nice looking instant messenger. Where is the ability to make video calls? And why the hell has google a second (!) instant messenger? Why do they still have hello? They should merge the abilities of the two instant messengers, add video device support, and attack skype more progressive. Together with a photo store service it would make much more sense than the actual state.

And why do they spread all products only as single packages? Even know you could turn your Windows computer into a nice google-ised desktop if you install all together (search, im, earth, picasa, firefox together with a mail account at gmail; the “power pack” with account at orkut and at blogger), but they do not provide it. I think it would improve the number of users massivly if they would provide such a package officially.

Another thing I do not understand is how they think how they coul competete with the upcomming Windows Vista. Windows Vista will interlock msn with the rest of the system. New computer users or lazy computer users will not use google any more because they will have the msn search – if google doesn’t react early enough and strong enough they will take the same way as all the other Microsoft rivals: you can’t fight such a monopolism! Give Vista five years and no one will remember what google was (ok, not so fast, but you get the idea).
Sure, I know that times has changed and there are only few new computer users, the most are used to known technics know and will continue using them even when Vista arises. But I think many of them will leave google because it would be easier to use msn desktop&web search…

And what’s about the summer of code? Sure, google got a lot of attention and supported some projects they use, and they found a few new talented developers – but that’s it. They got almost no attention outside the developers scene, and they got no new ways and no new programs.
Sure, they supported Linux with some things, but for what? They do not support Linux with all the shiny nice tools you can find outside: where is the google Linux-desktop search, where is Picassa for Linux (besides wine), where is something like “google earth4lin”, where is something like “talk2linux.google”?
On one hand they try to support new developers and new code in the FOSS movement, but on the other hand they do not even port Picasa to Linux, which runs quite nice under Wine and therefore should be portable to Linux.

So what should google do? If I were google (and I think there are some certain reasons why I am not 😉 ), I would point out a clear strategy, and form the most power behind it to fight the upcomming rivals (in most terms Windows Vista).

And yes, if I were there, I would do the following: hire some of the Linux developers, hire quite a lot KDE developers, make an enterprise contract with qt to use their licences, and port everything you have to qt/KDE 4. Then improve Linux everywhere where it still misses some features compared to Windows or MacOS: spread an easy-to-install-software system (hire the autopackage guys), improve the devices support (hire some amarok guys and improve amarok to talk to almost every electronic music device on this planet – amarok is even now almost perfect!), add mtp-support (let Picasa talk to all digital cameras on this planet, for example), and get a legal video/dvd player on the system (maybe you could buy real – they are suffering, and they will die because they are not able to fight against quicktime and Windows Media Player; buy them for cheap, improve their software, add dvd support).
And if you need a office suite: take koffice – it is nice enough to work well, and there is still enough space for a company to lead them into special directions.
Build it all up in the nice new desktop of KDE 4, and spread it some weeks before Vista comes out. Together with a google-Windows-Vista package which turns Windows Vista in a Windows Google (which behaves and looks like the Linux version) it could be enough to take advantages in the fight against the monopol…

But as I said – I am not google, and I do not work there. It’s a pity 🙂
But I hope they will find a clear shape of what they will provide in future times – and I hope that this shape will support Linux 😉


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