Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Google's To Do List Keeps Growing

This New York Times article echoes my blog entry from months back. (Google: Poised To Be The Number One Software Company In The World) That whole IBM to Microsoft to Google succession chain. I think it is inevitable. Empires rise and fall, and that is okay, as long as the tide keeps rising for the average consumer boat.

"Google has already added free e-mail, mapping, news aggregation and digital-photo management to its offerings, bringing it into competition in each case with two or more rivals."

Just look at some of the items on their laundry list:
  1. Instant messaging.
  2. Services for mobile phone users.
  3. Online payment.
  4. Internet based phone system.
  5. Browser.
  6. Software to compete with Microsoft Office.
That last one caught my attention. I hope they do not make the mistake of competing with Microsoft in that segment offline. If they do, they will be beat. They should offer an "Office" that is totally online and builds on their, well, Blogger. If they take it online, they win. Message: get away from Windows, stay away from Windows.

Google has the vision, the culture and the resources to tackle absolutely any software challenge on the horizon. They need to stick to the online space, though. They come down to the operating system level, and they are game. Why stoop down when you don't have to?

But first integrate MathML into Blogger. I should be able to do 2+2=4 using a Google online calculator and publish the entire thing at Blogger, the way I can add links and photos right now. And also more complicated stuff like sine, cosine and calculus stuff. Take the calculations and publishing part out of my equation, take them to your equation.

And, yes, their "Office" will also have to be ad supported. Don't start selling software. That would be a big mistake.

Stay within the online and ad supported parameters, and there is no stopping Google.

Every company worth its salt should be able to state its mission statement in one simple sentence. For Google it is "to organize the world's information." Everything on its agenda, real and speculated, fits into that.

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Monday, August 22, 2005

China, India And The World

I mean I was born in India. This pertains to me. People who live on a dollar a day are people in my personal circle. I know quite a few of them: some of them have nicknames for me, from my homevillage.

BusinessWeek has come up with a fabulous story cluster around the big topics of the economic resurgence of the two Asian giants. But perspective has to be maintained. Look at the per capita income. The PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) for 2004 for China is $5,600. For India it is $3,100. Fro Nepal it is $1,500. I had to throw Nepal in because, well, I grew up in Nepal.

The same figure for the US is $40,100.

My point being it will be a while before India and China jump over to the $50,000 range.

But the GDP figures, adjusted for Purchasing Power Parity, are US $11.75 trillion, China $7.262 trillion and India $3.319 trillion. At that level the differences are less stark.

The 19th century was Britain's, the 20th was America's, this one is Asia's. Cisco's Scheinman: "We came to India for the costs, we stayed for the quality, and we're now investing for the innovation."

Africa could compete. Both India and China are living testimonies to economic unions and free trade. A China that were 20 different countries would be less efficient. Africa could compete by becoming a single economic unit, a single market. Snuff out civil wars, introduces democracies, and work towards becoming a single market. The recipe is no rocket science.

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Saturday, August 13, 2005

In Defense Of Google Digitizing Books

It would be flat out wrong to get in the way of technological breakthroughs that bring the cost of books down. And make their reaches wider. It is just that a way has to be found to ensure the authors do make money in the process.

I think Google should consider becoming a publisher itself. So you publish your book on Google property. Revenue is generated through ads. You and Google split the money made. For the reader it is free books. For the author there is money.

The library concept hit the snag. Because the money part was not handled well. On the other hand, if it is okay to read a book at some library for free, why is it not okay to read that same book in digital format?

The publishing industry feels the threat, and rightly so. Because of the web, the barrier to entry to getting published is literally zero. As to whether or not you get read is another thing. As to whether or not you make money is another thing.

I think this free for consumer revenue through ads model would work also for other media, audio and video. Prices come down to zero, but volume goes up, way up. You could have consumers all over the planet.

This model preserves the copyright thing.

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Thursday, August 04, 2005

Google's Corporate Transparency

It's all right there, online. Too bad they don't have this one webpage that links to all the stuff. Instead there are separate starting points.

They did not have an easy start either. Earnly stage investors were not easy coming by.

Their corporate culture to me is as fascinating as their technology. The two feed on each other.

These people, they are just starting out. They are growing to grow, grow, grow. They invent challenges for themselves. They realize their competition is with themselves.

"Despite the dotcom fever of the day, they had little interest in building a company of their own around the technology they had developed."

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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Google And Languages

And I am not talking Visual Basic and C++ here. I am talking Bengali and Maithili. "The goal is to make the Internet language-independent." Wow. That would be cool, real cool. Google's on it. It also is in news that it will offer something in the PayPal category. Cool. Well, folks, what about MathML! "At the UN, it doesn't matter whether you speak only French and the orator is waxing eloquent in Chinese. The Web will be the same way." Wow.

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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Vonage And WiMax

  • Marry Vonage to WiMax, and what do you get? Internet-based cellphones? That would be a dream come true. TowerStream seems to be gearing to take the leap: "has a range of up to 30 miles and can deliver broadband at a theoretical maximum of 75 megabits per second." But so far it is just marrying broadband to phone. The mobile thing does not seem to be in the works. I guess before it happens we will have to see the emergence of citywide WiMax.
  • Yahoo is going to compete with Google to provide ads for small blogs. I hope that means Google is going to pay out a larger proportion of what they charge advertisers.

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