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Thursday, June 8, 2006

Google Becoming a Web OS Monopoly?

Google is on a true release frenzy to complete their Web OS before anyone else, with over 15 new products just this year. They’re not the only ones releasing stuff (and certainly not the only ones releasing good stuff), but their products create a strong pull through Google web search, the existing community attached to it, the consistently good usability*, and last not least the “lazy Google Account” feature... you don’t need to register to start playing around with new Google products if only you’ve ever registered for one of their products (a luxurious feature smaller competitors don’t have).

Or in the forum argues that Google’s focus seems to be on fast releases of “cool and simple products,” and adds that after many bland products, “[t]he convergence of the new forces at Google should be working to come out with their next killer product.” Or also previously argued, “many of these web 2.0 (or whatever you want to call it) products should really be features of a larger service. In other words, they make more sense being part of an existing platform, not stand alone services. Perhaps back in the 90’s, they would make more sense as stand alone products, but the web has matured beyond that.”

But what if in the future there’s nothing to see but Googleland, a Web OS monopoly? Matt Wastrodowski in the forum writes, “Look at how they’re demolishing the software business and essentially paving the road to hell with good intentions. When they’re done, there won’t be really any value to in anything outside of their fixed internet.” Michael Arrington of TechCrunch says, “Google-love is getting out of hand. In fact, Google is getting out of hand.”

What do you all think? Is Google’s “Web OS” overrated (and do they need another killer app)? Or is it a necessary armor to a Microsoft counter-attack (Google has cool search, yeah, well – Netscape had a cool browser)? Is Google releasing too much for their own good – or are they possibly releasing too much for the internet’s good?

*Good usability doesn’t need a lot of features, and it doesn’t need to be “special.” Simple products often have good usability. Take Google’s instant messenger, Google Talk. It didn’t do much at all, but it also didn’t do anything annoying. That’s the 90% good enough for most people who are already using other Google services. Many other features can be added over time, but it’s better for any web company to get a foot in the door early on.


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