Any of you who know me know very well that I am drinking the Goog-Aid. I believe in the company, give them the benefit of the doubt when they profess that they are not evil, and in general, agree with their business, technology, and work philosophy. Today, I thought I’d share why and how I came to this conclusion.
- Their stuff is free (as in free pizza). Google’s products, for the most part, are free. While there are usually optional upgrade costs, such as more storage, they usually offer the fully featured product at no cost to users. Their business model is advertising based, and so the more eyes that look at their products, the more money they get. I can get behind that, especially because it means that I can suggest a Google based solution to a client or colleague and not have to explain why they have to pay a fee. See also my support for Inkscape, GIMP, Open Office, and so on.
Their support of open standards. When I work with others, it often means that I have to decide the best way to deal with them. Do we use the same applications, services, and methods, or do we need to find a bridge between us? With Google, their products often use and support open standards and methods, such as XML, HTML 5, SVG, ATOM, and others, meaning that as long as another product (even proprietary ones) can understand the standard, we are good to go.
Their support of open source. In answering the mobile platform question “Why do you love Android so much?” my first answer is always “Because it’s open source.” Many people wonder why I care so much about open source (the source code that is written and compiled into the binary application is distributed along with the application), especially since I’m more of a user than a developer with most application code. The answer is that because developers get access to open sourced code, screen it for flaws, integrate improvements and can shape the code themselves, they act on my behalf. We all benefit from the changes that developers make to open sourced code. With proprietary solutions, those same developers are often cut off from adding their own code, seeing how it works, or checking it for flaws. Google uses open source in many of its projects, and supports its distribution through Google Code.
They offer portable music, documents, photos, and bookmarks, automatically backed up. I have a music collection of many, many gigabytes. It once was available on only one of my machines. When Google Music launched, it allowed me to upload all of my music to their service for streaming and download to any device that could visit their website, meaning every computer, phone, tablet, and set-top box I owned. They back up my music collection automatically, and make it available wherever internet access is present, which for me is nearly everywhere, anytime. Oh, and this goes for every photo I take with my phone, every document I write in Drive, and every presentation I’ve given for the last 5 years.
Google Plus, Hangouts, and YouTube. Google launched Plus, a social layer for its services a little while back. The obvious suggestion by critics was that they were trying to oust Facebook as king of social, but they are doing something different. They are making it easy to unify their services, share the products you make with them, and house it all under one roof: Plus. One feature of Plus, in particular, stands out as a disruptor: Hangouts. Hangouts, the ability to have up to ten people collaborate on documents, video chat, and more, has an on-air feature, with which you can do a live broadcast to thousands, archive the broadcast, and share it with people via YouTube. 5 years ago, it took a technologist with system administration skills to do this. Today, you just click the Hangout button on Plus.
- They make it especially easy to share and collaborate. Because I use Gmail, and have for a very long time, practically everyone I’ve exchanged email with or gotten a business card from in the last ten years is part of Google Contacts. Anytime I want to share a photo, document, spreadsheet, music, or other item with any of them, Google offers their contact info from my contacts just by starting to type their name. In many cases, I can invite them to collaboratively, virtually meet and work on the item in real-time, with voice, video, and screen actions.
The Android operating System. I’ll write on this at length in the future, but for now I’ll just say that excluding the Ubuntu mobile operating system, no other phone OS even begins to tempt me.
- The Chrome Operating System. I have a Chromebook. In fact, I have two. I bought them each used for $100. They both do only one thing: run the Chrome browser on a thin sheet of Linux. I can tell you from a lot of use that often that is all that you need to get work done.
- It extends my senses, my memory, and my ability. When I want to know more about a topic that came up in conversation, I Google what others concluded about it. When I want to see all the photos I’ve ever taken of myself, I open Picasa, and look at the photos that Picasa found my face in. When I want to read a book on any topic, I go to Google Play Books or Google Books, or Google Scholar to investigate it. When I sign into Google, I am just a few keystrokes away from learning, knowing, or remembering it all.
The Glass project and self-driving cars. Glass is a wearable computing platform that heralds the next big change in computing. Many are already dismissing it as too weird for mainstream use, but if we can get used to Bluetooth headsets, I think that wireframes that look like glasses without the lenses but that give you a heads-up-display on the world with camera, mic, and sound (powered by Android) would be worth the average person’s cultural shift in visual acceptance. And of course, any company that allows a blind person to drive himself to the store is a company that I stand behind.
I could go on, but I’ll stop here for now. If you are interested in how I think you could begin to integrate the Googleverse into your business workflow, please give me a call. I’m at email@example.com and 609-553-9498
This content is published under the Attribution 3.0 Unported license.