When I go, I’m going Google: I still have one of those old fashioned televisions that nothing plugs into. I can’t plug a DVD player in directly, or Apple TV, or a Netflix box, or Google TV. But all I really want is Google. I recently chose Android over iPhone – it’s cheap, more apps, open source, and it automatically integrates with the couple dozen Google apps I use to run my business. I’ll be getting my wife a Samsung Galaxy tablet or another Android-based one (when they’re a little better) instead of iPad, too – same reasons. What I’m really waiting for, though, is Google OS. It’s going to be an OSx killer.
Google is an Apple Killer: Really, you see, all Google needs to do is finish the OS (they don’t have to make laptops like Mac, because Google OS will work on anything), and they have essentially become the Apple killer. Microsoft isn’t even part of that conversation, except in enterprise. Bing is a joke, as are Windows 7 Mobile Phones, and half a dozen other reverse-engineered Borg monstrosities that Redmond has ‘innovated’. The recent partnership with Facebook is going to poison both Borganizations as much as it helps either of them. I think it was the last thing on earth Zuckerberg should have done, but it fits the profile. If Google gets this last suit behind them and re-envisions social media, this should get fun very quickly. Where is Apple on this? iTunes just isn’t Youtube, though they represent Apple and Google’s respective best in class social media sites. If Google thinks through Buzz vs. Facebook, and goes one better, we’ve got it made. Let’s hope they pair with Twitter in the next go – there’s a lot of promise there – Linkedin too.
Design isn’t Enough: So what will Apple will do, when Google takes their edge away, and they’re facing Google and Microsoft with little to offer but what they’ve already taught us about design (admittedly, very nice stuff), which can be emulated by 3rd parties once Google OS is fully available past this draft 2.5 stage. Microsoft will never abandon the Borg look and feel until they’re too irrelevant to social computing to matter. Look at Kindle, though. Companies are starting to get the power of design. Nook is dead – they went Walmart on us – come on, guys! Really? But if Google books was paired with an e-paper Android Reader… you realize Google Books is about to start selling book editions, right? In general, though: design + open source any-platform any-device OS + we can search anything (even images and spoken words) and cross reference with anything else = triumph. I want to read historical fiction on a dedicated device or any device with roving historical Google maps and superimposed satellite imagery of battlefields, that I can book a flight to go visit, and get a photo of me on the ground to add to the stream for the next reader (if he has that feature enabled). Why not?
Sculpting Future Business Accordingly: Now, if you and I could figure a way to pair your company with Google in a unique way… i.e. how would your company look if sculpted along with the concept of ubiquitous all-powerful search and/or with a promiscuous all-compatible on-anything OS, of which Android is the current basis? Google was smart, you know – they started out with small machines and then scaled up, versus everyone else who did it the other way around. Android will one day run desktop versions, in some format or incarnation, regardless of what it’s called. The world is the cloud and the cloud is the world – the OS and search must exist in the ether of experience. So how could your company unite with technology, including the new technology of social interaction itself, in a way that has to do with absolutely free OS on any machine or absolutely ubiquitous search of any type imaginable, enhanced by the fact that search spreads ubiquitously to any machine by means of promiscuous OS proliferation? Haven’t thought about it? Maybe you should. It might make all the difference.
This is Your Life on Google: One day, you do realize of course, you’ll search your fridge with a Google screen on the outside. It will tell you what you can make with what you have, or offer to locate merchants and delivery to bring you what you’re missing, set up recurring payments, tell you how your health is doing based on what you eat over time, recommend changes to your diet, tell you how many you can feed at the upcoming dinner it pulled from your Google Calendar, suggest alternate dishes and complimentary side-dishes and deserts, enhanced by your ingredient list (you will scan bar codes as you put items in the fridge – google will always know). It will suggest who should bring what, by sharing (if your Google Contacts have enabled sharing) some of what it knows based on their refrigerator contents. Maybe Steve should bring the punch, since he has 2-day old Seven-Up and some orange juice, and Chris should bring the salad, because that head of lettuce in his fridge will turn in a few days. You can say text, phone, or e-mail all to forward these recommendations for confirmation. It will also factor in total calories when making these suggestions. It will even tell you when you’ve had few enough calories that you can open the freezer and pull out that Fudgesicle, or “No, not today – you’re already over by 50 and it’s only noon, but you can order the Weight Watchers dreamsicle alternative if you want – it can be there in 4 hrs from Schwann truck if you order before 2pm”. Don’t like that, it’ll tell you where the nearest one is located, at what store (just 4 blocks East at the Walgreens), how many are in stock, at what price, and how many calories you’d burn by walking or biking there, instead of taking the car. You can disable Google Health integration (yes, the service exists) for an amoral eating lifestyle, or delete or mute (just during game days) any of these types of suggestions if you prefer to eat without Google’s helpful voice (yes, the fridge can talk, text, phone, e-mail, or put the output to your TV where you’re sitting down with that bowl of chips by this time). Google Home knows what room you’re in, if you’ve enabled that feature. After all, you watch your kids when they’re home early from (or for) school on your Google Video account, right? Yes, Google knows who ate the last piece of pumpkin pie. Check your privacy settings, guys. And by the way, it’ll say, “take water on your jaunt down to the store – your intake today is too low – you’ve had too much caffeine from that Arizona iced tea you had in the can with the extra 16% free” (yes, it knows you put it back in the fridge empty). That’s just the start w. the fridge. I can go on all day long, if you can. But Google will also be in your washing machine, your shower, your toilet (order more bran?), your alarm clock… TV is just a start. Google will help you manage your household, be waiting for you when you get to work, plot a traffic resistant trip home and alert you as you shut down that “if you stay at work 20 more minutes, you’ll get home at exactly the same time by missing rush hour – do nothing to continue shutting down or ESC to cancel”. As you get to the car, it’ll remind you of the milk and mention the store on the 2nd exit off the highway (remember that dinner your Google Calendar says you’re planning?), oh and they have that Fudgesicle you wanted from yesterday. Good news, the employee cafeteria reported to your corporate health plan, which discloses to you all data in your personal file to which you’ve previously opted in, by synchronizing with Google Health, that you are well below your optimal calorie intake at this point, and after all, your spouse has plotted a low calorie meal for dinner (you’re having baked whitefish) – you can snack with confidence – just watch the marshmallow pie at that upcoming dinner – Steve’s not bringing what you asked him to. Disable future updates from Steve? The song from that video you favorited during lunch hour is on the radio, at 91.7. Wave to the car on your left – he’s listening to it too, and he’s got his playlist set to public. Or don’t look – he’s sent out 217 friend requests, all to people of your gender who share playlist favorites (congrats for enabling the spam profiling feature – a new version comes out next month with added protection). By the way, oil change is coming up, shall Google pencil it into your calendar for Thursday? Your company calendar indicates it’s closing shop early that day to reconfigure the cubicles, and they won’t be open Monday – your alarm clock at home as already been updated. By the way, the kids have been playing Final Fantasy 15 for 2.25 hours continuously, which exceeds the weekday limit you’ve applied, and their class Google Calendar indicates an exam tomorrow, as well as a due book report – thanks for using Google School Connect. Song complete, return to previous station? Last chance to get that milk before you get home – convenience store 3 blocks up on your right – 23% more expensive that last passed option. Cancel – your spouse just purchased at same location (probably because he ate that pie) – wave to him as you pass by – you’re getting home from work first. Consumer news flash – Microsoft just announced they are abandoning support for seven of your devices – three will lose technical support within 12 months. Say “enable” to enable price watch and alerts for Google-powered devices during the same time period. As I say, one could go on…. and I think you’d better invest in Google – at least in terms of envisioning business, work, and an indexed life in a Googlified world.
Items that (by means of extrapolation) inspired this piece, or have been noticed since:
- Steve Jobs
- OS independence
- Google Impact
- Redmond Turmoil
- Child-Driven Education (video)
- Jobs on Flash
- Jobs Flash Isn’t Coming
- Adobe Moves On
- Apple loves Microsoft
- Apple gives up Multitouch
- Quantified Self (video)
PS. A core difference, I think, between Google and alternatives (e.g. Apple, Microsoft, Facebook) is that Google is philosophy driven, and the others are personality driven. An idea can be tested against reality – a personality simply can’t be subjected to the market in the same way. There’s a sense in which a personality, itself, can’t be wrong, and yet it can guide a company in the same way that ideas can. Fundamentally, ideas are humble – they’re always willing to be corrected in an agile way, if the people that hold them are NOT loyal to them in the way they are often asked to be loyal to a personality. The difference between the companies is, fundamentally, a difference in the culture of work that prevails in the context of each organization.