The Google bubble
: Has Google run out of ideas? Google is the single greatest service on the Internet; no one has beat it. I admire how it works and how it has developed and how it has wisely let others develop around it. Nonetheless, its latest three tests are neat ideas looking for a reason to live (usually the result of brainstorming and an overextended sense of democracy as a good thing).
: Froogle promises to search all stores for the items you want. Neat idea, perhaps. But the results are not terribly useful because they are overwhelming (4455 notebooks, for example); in fact, when I do use Mothership Google to do just this kind of product search, I find it more useful than this.
: The Google viewer turns your search results into a slideshow, giving you new pages ever few seconds. But Google itself is far more useful; I can usually judge whether a site is worth a click by nothing more than the Shaker selection of words the text listings give me. (Such slide shows aren’t new. A German company called Datango lets you not only create a slideshow but give it a soundtrack — useful for customer service explanations, for example, but they are useful only because they are selected and produced and shown for a reason.)
: Google web quotes is supposed to extract quotes about a search give you some context but I haven’t made it work well yet.
As David Galbraith said in a seminal post, Windows should work as well on my little desktop as Google works over the tera upon terabytes of information on the Web. It is genius. And I don’t want to discourage invention anywhere (wouldn’t it be great if Google turned into the Bell Labs of the Web?).
However, I do think these three ideas flop like dead fish.
And I do hope that Google is also paying attention to business so it remains as strong as it is today (I don’t ever want to hear that advertising isn’t paying and Google has to reduce its spidering).
Finally, I wish Google would turn its attention as well to helping me find what I need to find wherever I need to find it, even on this little desktop.
Steven Johnson points to a fork in the road in management of your digital stuff: There is the Apple view, creating separate appropriate applications for each type of data (photo viewers vs. word processors vs. calendars). There is the Microsoft view, creating one mother application that finds whatever you have stored on your desktop (and probably soon your personal storage space elsewhere).
What about the Google view: Find whatever you want wherever it is (no it won’t be perfect but if it works as well as Google works, as quickly and easily as Google works, the world will be a better place).
: As I searched for that Galbraith post I mention above, I found another post that I’d missed before, which said what I just said, better, shorter, and smarter.