Google to replace Microsoft Exchange & Office at Pixar?

This Business Week article 'Google Steps Into Microsoft's Office' is interesting because it is the first time I have seen a rather large corporate entity (Pixar/Disney) express an interest in moving to a non-Microsoft, Web-based platform like Google Apps for your Domain. The other interesting point to note is published user-base of Microsoft Office Live which is sitting at 250,000 businesses, quite a respectable number for a new, non-free service.

I have been a user of Google Apps for your Domain for a while now on a number of domains and have got a few other well entrenched in-house email fans to sign up as well. By far and away the best things about it has been the spam protection and the fact that within an evening you can have a fully functioning email and calendar service up and running with no fuss at all. It has been slightly disappointing that the applications list has not grown to cover the Docs and Spreadsheets products already and many of the new GMail features such as the very handy retrieve mail service or increased storage sizes have not become available to Apps users sooner.

Chris DiBona Wellington meetup on Tuesday

This Tuesday the 6th of February Chris DiBona from Google will be in Wellington to talk open source. I am organising a meet-up and dinner with him at a local Wellington restaurant. There will be people from a wide variety of backgrounds there (government, small business, academic) and if you would like to come along please contact me and I will send you more details. I only hope the weather is as good next Tuesday as it was yesterday...

Google Trends: A cool comparison tool

When you think of Google you think search but a consequence of all of those searches is some very useful trends. This is where Google Trends comes into play. With it you can enter a few different terms (separated by commas) and then the tool will return a graph of the number of search hits for each term over the last few years. Not only that you can break down the search to look at from where people are searching for these terms. I did a quick trend analysis of C#, Java, PHP and Ruby and the results are pretty interesting, especially the fact that six of the top ten cities searching for these terms are in India (although in hindsight it is hardly surprising).

The emerging future: Software as electricity

There has been rumblings about software as a service and Web 2.0 revolutionising the way people work with their computers and data but very little to really illustrate this point. Whilst the average person is comfortable with having their email and chat hosted by Google, Microsoft or Yahoo the idea of businesses trusting third parties with hosting their software and data is a foreign one.

Companies like Google, and now Zoho are out to change this attitude with a direct push at the business marketplace. You know an I.T. concept has momentum when it has its own conference, and now with the Office 2.0 Conference there is a showcase for business orientated, software as a service applications. TechCrunch has been doing a very good job covering the new applications released during this conference. Zoho seems very interesting from a software capability perspective although successfully marketing this service within the industry as it stands today will no doubt be difficult. However it is probably more likely that Zoho is concentrating on their application feature-set with an end-game of being purchased by a larger company (Yahoo, AOL). This larger company will then rebrand Zoho and use it to compete with Google's emerging online office suite and Microsoft Office Live.

Google surprises all with its purchase of YouTube

YouTube provides online video quickly when you want it and those related video links are just addictive. My favourites are World of Warcraft clips and comedian videos like Bill Hicks. If you have not had your head stuck in the sand over the last few days you would have heard Google has purchased YouTube, or more precisely they have given the owners a tonne of Google stock ($1.65 billion worth) and not a single real dollar changed hands. Hopefully this purchase by Google provides a search speed increase, at the moment searching for videos is often very slow when compared to just browsing which is always very snappy.

Probably the most interesting reaction to this came from Jason Calacanis who was all for the deal which is quite unlike his tone on the Gillmor Gang of late. The most unsurprising reaction was from Mark Cuban who stuck to his guns by saying YouTube is a copyright lawsuit waiting to happen and bad news for any future owner.

The most logical argument for a Google OS so far

I was listening to the Gillmor Gang yesterday and the guest was Jason Calacanis, CEO of Weblogs Inc (now part of AOL). He put forward the most logical argument for Google bringing out an operating system I have heard that actually sounded like it could be a success. He believed Google would release a free Linux-based operating system that would be distributed pre-installed on Dell and HP computers. Not only would the operating system be free but it would make extensive use of AdSense in order to deliver targeted advertisements in some integrated manner to users. A good portion of this income would be shared with the PC manufacturers (up to 80%), which would provide significant incentive to ship and support Google OS instead of Windows. Also this post-sale income stream would allow Dell and HP to significantly lower their retail prices on the basis that a good portion of their income would occur post-sale.

Thomas Fuchs AJAX presentation & Google's AJAX API

Thomas Fuchs, the guy behind recently did a presentation in San Francisco about AJAX that looked pretty interesting. He has is slide show online in PDF format here. Associated notes made during the presentation have been put online by the guys at Ajaxian.

Google releases a free version of Sketchup

As soon as Google purchased Sketchup it was obvious that a free version would soon emerge for the mass market (Windows only at the moment). From Google's perspective it is really useful for them to have their 'virtual world' (Google Earth/Maps) populated with user-created 3D models. The best tool for the average Joe when it comes to doing this is SketchUp. My guess is the ulitimate goal from Google's perspective will be to have elements SketchUp embedded within Google Earth so that general users can quickly and seamlessly add their own 3D data whilst using Google Earth. Whether or not this happens or whether users take up the challenge and recreate their 3D world within Google is uncertain but one thing that is for sure is that 'free' SketchUp will really shake-up the relatively stagnant CAD market space.


WikiCalc is a new piece of online software from Dan Bricklin that is attempting to bring the venerable spreadsheet to the Web. NewsForge is running a review of the initial alpha release and it seems pretty good. Recently he was interviewed on the Gillmor Gang about this software and his ideas around it. It is a fairly nice idea now that we live in an Internet full of Ajax and rich interaction. My initial feeling was that he was angling for a Google/Microsoft/Yahoo buyout but surprisingly he has put the source code online for others to download. This is a good thing from a free software perspective and hopefully with the support of others there will soon be a viable (and hopefully embeddable) spreadsheet application for the Web.

My (off-topic) thoughts on Google

This is completely off topic but after reading and listening to a few things in the last couple of days it has got me thinking (and by the looks of it ranting). CNN Money has a fairly lofty article Imaging the Future of Google from four different scenarios: Google becomes the media, Google becomes the Internet, Google dies or Google becomes God. It all makes for an interesting read, even if some of the possible outcomes are rather far-fetched in a Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy kind of way.

Recently Steve Gillmor on his podshows The Gillmor Gang (Captain Crunchberry Gang) and The Gillmor Daily (Gym Shorts) has enjoyed bringing up the question of who will prevail, Google or Microsoft? To Steve the battle between Microsoft and Google is a life or death one and something Microsoft is sure to loose. He views the Internet as the new platform, not the operating system. With this change the balance of power has shifted significantly from the ‘stagnant’ Microsoft to the ‘can do no wrong’ Google. On the Gym Shorts podcasts he heatedly discusses this opinion with Mike Arrington (of TechCrunch fame). Mike has recently met with Microsoft and seen what they have planned with Windows Live and he is “pretty excited about some of the stuff that was discussed”. Mike sees Microsoft’s command of the operating system and their ability to bridge that and a user’s Internet experience as something that will eventually trump Google. As it is Steve’s show he steadfastly controls the debate but unfortunately often fails to make his point or stick to a concise idea. Mike on the other hand strikes down most of Steve’s points and ridicules most of Google’s product line, except for PageRank, which he views as their only real innovation in the market-space. The podshows are a good listen but at times it would be nice to have a little less Steve and more guest, but as he says often it is his show and if you want to control the message make your own.