Google Blogoscoped

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Web Applications vs Desktop Software

So what’s left, after the Google Toolbar, and the Google Deskbar? Does Google Inc. have intentions to move other tools to the desktop, like Gmail? In his blog Capt. Cornelius is suggesting a Gmail integration into the Google Deskbar. But then again, do we really want more desktop software?

What I like about Web applications is I don’t need to install or upgrade them, and they run on any computer anywhere – nevermind the OS as long as there’s a browser. This concept has been around before the Google OS in different shapes, such as “dumb terminals” or “thin-clients”.

The nice thing about Google is it’s behaving like a genie in a bottle, coming out only when you wish for it.

And it’s a fast genie at that. Google has a loading time of some seconds, compared to the minutes of Windows. Google will never crash your computer or ask you to restart it, something Windows regularly demands. You pretty much never have to pay for it, it does not come bundled with anything, and if you change your hardware you don’t loose your license to Google. It’s so unobtrusive its only chance of making its way onto user desktops is by plain usability.

Now compare that to something like Word. Microsoft Word ships with Microsoft Office. Office may ship with your workplace. And as much as you may hate it, most written documents you will receive demand it. Speed check: it takes Google a split-second to go through 4 billion of pages, deliver a single Word document, and convert it to HTML on the fly. It takes Microsoft several seconds to open a rich text file*. This makes Windows look like a dumb terminal even though it should actually be extra-smart; after all it’s growing bigger every year.

*Maybe my dislike of Word goes back to when I used an Amiga 500 with 1MB of RAM and no hard-disk at all (just a disk) – and I also had rich text editing, and it also worked well, and it also took some seconds to start-up; nowadays computers are a thousand times bigger and faster, so when my simple rich text editing application is still the same, or even worse, then something smells fishy.

Sure we can’t edit any webpage on the spot. But that’s the way to go and would follow the original intention of the Web’s inventor, Tim Berners-Lee. Wikis and Blogs are early signs the edit-button is finally there, now let’s wait until it will be build right into the browser. The Gbrowser, perhaps (with all G-Apps under one multi-tabbed hood).

We can go on to compare Outlook Express, Microsoft’s desktop mail client, with Gmail, and Microsoft would loose hands-down once more. It does not matter how much storage your own computer has if the software will become unusable if you don’t delete regularly. I’d like to go on by comparing Google’s chat client with MSN Messenger, but we have to wait until that one makes its way out of the Google labs (if indeed Google is working on it, and they seem to have been working on a whole lot lately). In any case, Gchat will probably be much, much better than the rest.

So what’s the price to pay? Centralization, of course. Though you can switch from any website to the next with a single click, if the Web applications are just too damn good you won’t. This gives Google a whole lot of power. And with a whole lot of power... well, you know what Peter Parker said. But as long as the Googleplex-guys play by the rules, and play nice, everybody wins. Google wins by plastering all their applications with context-sensitive ads (the ones that people actually click on – forget banners). Users win by getting better software. The stuff dreams are made of; the stuff Bill Gates promised the world for years.

Let’s take revenge. At every single bug in Windows, and every single crash, and every single annoying office agent talking nuts. Let’s kidnap Microsoft Windows. Let’s do nothing but use it as a window to Google. Google, and whoever else really gets Web applications in the future.

Grab Nearest Book Meme

Enter this in Google to watch the latest ’Net meme evolve:
“Grab * nearest book * Open * book * page 23 * Find * Fifth Sentence” [Via Dennis G. Jerz.]
For some more random exposure, try Findforward’s Random feature and click Find several times to grow it.

Blogger’s React to Gmail (via Technorati)

“I like the feeling.”
-- Agenda Bender

“Will wonders ever cease?”
-- Cyberpilgrim

“[I] have a gmail account, something, that, for some reason, makes me rather proud”
-- On the Turn

“The Gmail era has started I just got my Gmail account from Google ! Hurra Hurra !”
-- The Deep Sea Angler

“I will still check my yahoo, but g-mail is huge and awesome, and goes with an almost forum like feel for e-mail. Which in my mind is cool.”
-- Beautiful Daydream

“With the invitation-only release of Orkut’s beta and now the invitation only release of the Gmail beta, Google is building buzz and placing itself and its loyal users at the top of the web hierarchy. This isn’t all that different from Google’s flirtations with an IPO. Google is creating hype, and building reputation by playing hard-to-get”
-- Brian Burnham

“The thing about GMail is that it can store a huge volume of email and pictures. BUT it has this system where it scans every email you recieve and picks out key words and sends you junk mail relating to those words.” [Talk about rumors.]
-- It’s good for the grass

“Cool! I got to admit, that’s a pretty savvy marketing move. Who better to get to use your new service then someone who’ll tell others about it.”
-- Brewed Fresh Daily

“Heh... now I’ve got one more email :P FLOOD ME!! WAHAHAHA 1 GIG of SPACE!!”
-- Another time, another space

“Opened a gmail account, 1Gb, sweet...”
-- Sukihk’s Idea

“Today I got invited to use Gmail , and I must say, it is worth the hype!”
-- #define _TechBlog

“Feel free to send me junk so I can test it”
-- Bedsit Bomber

“[Imagine], 1 gigabyte of email storage. even the largest of mpgs or divx movies will fit into my mailbox!”
-- The unhurried

“God, I am such a geek... only a geek would get excited about a new email account. Note to self: Must. Get. Life.”
-- As I live the questions

“Okay, I don’t sound excited enough. Actually I really am.”
-- raZZbeRRy’s Silly Rants

“I’ve Got A Gmail Account! YAY! I’ve Got A Gmail Account! YAY!”
-- Passing obsessions

“I GOT GMAIL! no more *** inbox is running out of space messages.”
-- Rob8

“Anyway, I now have a Gmail account. I don’t actually plan to use it, but I feel unjustifiably important at the moment.”
-- My Subhuman Garbage

“Finally I got into Gmail! (...) The first impression? Very nice.”
-- Vasanth Dharmaraj’s Blogs

“I wanted so badly to have a gmail account and I got it! Ah har har har har har !!!! I laugh at you pitiful earthlings!”
-- Plark

“[It’s] still beta though it gave me 1000 MB! i reckon it’s pretty good.”
-- Water place

“Now that I’ve got it, I’m starting to see why people are underwhelmed.”
-- Bblog

“I don’t know if I am among the lucky few that get a chance to use Gmail before the wordl does. I am glad though.”
-- Usability Watch India

“yeah~!~! I’ve got the chance to try out gmail from google~”
-- Be a happy little bird

Google Earth Day Logo

Google today is celebrating Earth Day with a jumping fish logo. As usual, the server carrying the top ranked results when clicking on the logo is down...

Governing a Nation by Google

“The Federal Treasurer [of Australia], Peter Costello, once accused Mark Latham of developing policy ideas by surfing the internet.

He criticised the Opposition leader in parliament, saying, “You can’t govern a nation by Google”, referring to a popular search engine on the net.”
– Tony Eastley, Peter Costello mocks Latham’s ’Google’ approach to policy (ABC/ AM), 22 April , 2004

Gmail Open for Users

Google’s is now giving away Gmail accounts to active users. Martsanz comments elsewhere “You won’t get the link if you just go and sign up now – or if you haven’t been using Blogger recently.”

In the meantime Google removed the feedback button from the Gmail interface. Both this and the move hint Gmail, which is still in Beta at the moment, will soon be available to the public.

The Gmail Privacy Saga continues as well...


Blog  |  Forum     more >> Archive | Feed | Google's blogs | About


This site unofficially covers Google™ and more with some rights reserved. Join our forum!