Google is going to take over the world and make all our computers unnecessary and put Microsoft out of business. Or it’s going to continue to drop just about everything it touches except the search business. It’s an interesting world!
On the “take over the world” side are the rumors of GDrive, free or cheap online file storage similar to Microsoft’s Live SkyDrive. It’s been rumored for a long time (and frankly with Google’s enormous server capacity it’s a little odd that it hasn’t already appeared). The latest speculation adds the possibility that the storage space will be sufficient to hold the entire contents of your computer hard drive and Google will do technical magic to sync your computer and the online storage, similar to Microsoft’s Live Mesh. Or in an even more remarkable bit of wizardry, Google will let your local device be booted from the online drive to “load the Google operating system” – presumably Google Docs and Gmail and Picasa and the like – making your local computer’s OS almost irrelevant.
Personally, I haven’t seen much from Google over the years that struck me as all that interesting technically. Many things outside their search business are pretty half-baked; Google is quite good at creating simple interfaces but I don’t see much bleeding-edge technology, despite the reputation and the hype.
In the last few years, Google has purchased quite a few companies with nice technology and then let them die. Last week it took the formal step of killing six more of its projects – Google Video, Google Notebook, and a few others.
I have a personal interest in GrandCentral, the phone service that was acquired by Google in 2007 and immediately went into deep hibernation, with no new users, no support, and no information about what to expect. Last year Google almost lost the domain registration for grandcentral.com when somebody forgot to renew it. Today the web site began throwing up a warning when users tried to view their messages because the security certificate was allowed to expire.
It doesn’t fill me with confidence that this company is the one that we’ll trust to take over our entire computing experience.
There continues to be no official word whatsoever about plans for GrandCentral, by the way, but New York Times columnist David Pogue posted this comment following the blog entry about the SSL certificate:
“You’ve got it wrong. Everyone from GrandCentral still works on GrandCentral, and the 2.0 version is imminent.
“A PR guy explained to me that it’s taken a year to merge the GrandCentral servers with Google’s, but they’re nearly done.”
It’s not obvious that New York Times columnist David Pogue really wrote that, but if he did, well, he’s a well-informed guy. Maybe it’s true. If so, it’s the first information about the future of GrandCentral to have appeared in almost two years.
Google is a big company and we keep hearing about how it hires really smart people and threatens Microsoft because it has a secret plan. Should we have to depend on comments to blog entries by columnists to learn the future of Google’s integration with phone services? I sometimes feel that I don’t understand Google at all.