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Has Google Peaked? 332

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the glory-days dept.
nile_list writes "Robert X. Cringely's latest column explores just what the heck Google could be doing. 'Google likes to play the Black Box game. What are they DOING in all those buildings with all those PhDs?' He concludes that it's likely Google has peaked as a company: 'What if everyone is mainly wrong? What if search and PageRank and AdSense are Google's corporate apex. Most companies would be content with that, but Google isn't supposed to be like most companies. But what if they are?' His conclusion is that 'Microsoft's clearest threat still comes from Apple, though not the way most people expect.' It's an interesting read."
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Has Google Peaked?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 27, 2005 @12:46PM (#13416006)
    I, Cringe writes "Robert X. Cringely's latest column explores just how inane and idiotic he can be.'I wilke to play the baseless speculation game. What can I THINK some company is doing based on my limited knowledge?' He concludes that it's likely he has peaked as a columnist: 'What if I am am mainly wrong? What if I, Cringely is my writing apex. Most writers would not be content with that, but I'm not like most writers. But so what if I'm not?' His conclusion is that 'My clearest threat still comes from people with brains, though not the way most people expect.' It's a boring read."

    • Or better, are they the same person? Has anyone seen them in the same place at the same time (and survived with enough sanity intact to report the fact? I didn't think so). But both of them seem to subsist on pompously worded pointless "conventional wisdom challeging."

      Is "T" actually a vowel? What if paper money was edible? Is it already? Dispite what most city dwellers think, most of the worlds buildings are still only one story tall! And made-up words--are they really neologisms, or is everyone j

    • Why? Because he hates Microsoft and loves Apple. Both MS and Google have a shitload of money to invest and both have tons of stuff they can do with their money. But if Google really wants to take on both MS and Apple, and even Intel, I think I got an excellent suggestion for them.

      In my opinion, Intel and the rest of the big processor vendors can only come up with so many incremental improvements before they bore the market to death. Microsoft is mired in buggy code that they'll never be able to fix. Apple i
  • Blah blah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TupperTrenine (803932) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @12:48PM (#13416025)
    What if, what if, what if. This article could have been posted when Earth came out, or GMail, or even Desktop Search. There can always be speculation, why now?
    • Re:Blah blah (Score:2, Interesting)

      by justin12345 (846440)
      It is odd that there seems to be so much Google=bad going around these days.

      I wonder if someone is coordinating it all. After all, the general sentiment seems to be that Google=good, so all this Google=bad stuff could clearly be someone's doing.

      I wonder who.
      • Re:Blah blah (Score:2, Insightful)

        by drsquare (530038)
        What???? The general sentiment is NOT that Google=good. You've been listening to too much propaganda and paid Slashvertisements. There is a growing feeling that Google is over-hyped and nowhere near as good as they think they are. I know it's nice to think that anyone who doesn't like Google is a Microsoft astroturfer, but... ...it's EXTREMELY ARROGANT to think that no-one in the world could dislike Google. Not everyone has happily accepted the brainwashing.
      • Re:Blah blah (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Bogtha (906264) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @02:22PM (#13416609)

        It is odd that there seems to be so much Google=bad going around these days.

        It started up when they announced they were going public. Yeah, there were a few anti-Google articles here and there, but I noticed a dramatic increase around that time. Suddenly "don't be evil" stopped being a good principle and started being spun as deception. Articles that would have been written as "Google are unlikely to do this because of their Don't Be Evil rule" are now written as "If Google do this, then so much for Don't Be Evil!". It's a subtle change in language, but a big change in tone.

        Dunno why it is, mistrust of public companies, jealousy, the sudden disappearance of underdog status... it's probably a combination of things. All I know is that once, the fact that Google did good things and not bad things was seen in a positive light, and now that isn't good enough - people want a guarantee that Google will never do anything bad, which is an impossible expectation that nobody could satisfy.

    • Re:Blah blah (Score:2, Interesting)

      by igny (716218)
      What if, what if, what if. This article could have been posted when Earth came out

      As in "what if the Earth were flat?"
    • Re:Blah blah (Score:4, Insightful)

      by kevinwal (883356) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @01:20PM (#13416248)

      There's a lot at stake here for a lot of people; Google has collected a huge pile of investor money, and they should expect to be scrutinized, speculated about and puzzled over endlessly.

      I wonder how much longer they'll be able to get away with their "black box" style of product development before investors get nervous about it and run away? This article is a symptom of that nervousness, and represents a great example of the media doing it's job to raise questions.

    • This article could have been posted when Earth came out

      "What if this life on Earth is nothing special? What if everyone is mainly wrong? What if trilobites and amoebas are Earth's biological apex. Most planets would be content with that, but Earth isn't supposed to be like most planets. But what if they are?"
    • Re:Blah blah (Score:4, Insightful)

      by GoClick (775762) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @01:51PM (#13416451)
      You know what, Desktop Search isn't the best desktop search tool, there are ones that are considerably better, heck ones that even work with multiple users. I'd say that Desktop Search is NOT better than the search engine

      Google Earth isn't even THEIR PRODUCT, they bought it, that's not innovation therefor it can't drive their peak higher, that said what the heck is it even good for, I'd file it under GAME.

      Ok so what do we have that's spectacular, made by them, useful and recent, Gmail. But wait! That's not innovation either, heck I've been able to get to my IMAP mail for YEARS and do full text searches on it and even gasp STORE MORE THAN A GIG! Heck it even has a spiffy web interface, but who cares, I just keep a copy of my Thunderbird configuration on my web server and use Thunderbird wherever I go, however I will give FULL POINTS to Gmail because my mail setup is more complex and expensive, ie not free. Also it doesn't have clever targeted ads to remind me that I need to consume something.

      Ok so we've got a search engine that's pretty good, oh but wait, have you checked out another one in the last six months? I imagine you have not. The competition is getting pretty darn good! Worse still the SEO companies are getting pretty good at tricking Google.

      So has Google peaked? We won't know until they go bankrupt, which will eventually happen, or someone will buy them or the Internet will be phased out but corporations don't last forever, whatever the case may be the post mortem will be facinating. Until then, I'm happy to use their search engine every day and play with http://maps.google.ca/ [google.ca]

      But do I think their the be all to end all like the rest of the slashdot fanboys, no.

      Do I think I could do better? Oh probably not but I do know some ways that Google could make it's services better.

      Search Engine:
      *Allow me to specify a set of web sites I NEVER want to results for.
      *Allow me to specify that I never want to see another damn .doc or .pdf file again.
      *Allow me to sort my results by AGE, how can you know how old it was, crawl the sites and when it changes the contents of more than x percent of the sentaces longer than x mark it changed.
      *How about a ranking system? Give me the option to mod down a site and once a domain name gets enough people saying it's crap (*cough*about.com*cough*) drop it from the index

      Gmail
      *DON'T HIDE THE GOD DAMN DELETE FEATURE UNDER A MENU! I don't care if you want me to keep my shit around forever I don't want to keep some moronic E-Mail about kittens, but that doesn't mean my friend is spamming me!
      *How about we have the notify app remember my password? That one would be super cause I already have to log onto my system and if little sally doesn't want her brother checking her email she can turn this off, or atleast give me the option to turn it on.

      Talk
      *Make it connect to the MSN server too like GAIM does, Ok so I can use GAIM to connect to Talk but still, I'm not a GAIM fan.

      Earth
      *How about a high speed grayscale only mode and integration with Talk so that I can put a pushpin into my map and send it to my friends?
      *Why does maps.google.ca have roads for places that Earth doesn't?

      Toolbar
      *How about it could come with an integrated tool that stops other toolbars from being installed? That'd be fantastic then I could just put it on my family's computers and not worry about them installing more tool bars, or any software for that matter!
      *Integrate a clock, people like clocks! Oh and make sure it stays up to date :P

      Desktop Search
      *Make it work on more than one user, this shouldn't even be that damn hard what's wrong with you people?

      I've lost my rant will....

      I'm going to go drink Tang now..
      • Re:Blah blah (Score:5, Informative)

        by Bogtha (906264) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @02:34PM (#13416682)

        Allow me to specify a set of web sites I NEVER want to results for.
        Allow me to specify that I never want to see another damn .doc or .pdf file again.

        You could add those to Google yourself with relatively simple Javascript (Greasemonkey, userjs, etc). Just append "-site:example.com -filetype:pdf" to each query.

        DON'T HIDE THE GOD DAMN DELETE FEATURE UNDER A MENU!

        Here's a Greasemonkey script to add a delete button [arantius.com].

        How about it could come with an integrated tool that stops other toolbars from being installed? That'd be fantastic then I could just put it on my family's computers and not worry about them installing more tool bars, or any software for that matter!

        I thought there was an option to disable BHOs in the latest Internet Explorer running on XP? In any case, Internet Explorer 7 will have a "safe mode" [msdn.com]. I don't think this is Google's problem to solve.

        Integrate a clock, people like clocks!

        Everyone has a clock [allinthehead.com].

  • by KingSkippus (799657) * on Saturday August 27, 2005 @12:50PM (#13416042) Homepage Journal

    I dunno, the article sounds rather like pretty wild speculation to me. Not that speculation is wrong—the author admits it's speculation—but if any of this stuff comes to pass, I would chalk the author's correctness up more to luck than to keen insight.

    Google has a lot of project in the works, including Gmail, Gtalk, Google Desktop, etc. These projects are anything but mainstream and have a LOT of room for growth. Hell, there's still even room for growth in their primary market, the search engine. Though they are huge, they are far from owning that market.

    And Apple knocking off Microsoft? Maybe, but if they haven't done it yet, I don't have much reason to believe they'll do it anytime soon. I will admit that there was an interesting speculation in the article:

    What if Apple introduces OS 10.5, its next super-duper operating system release, and at the same time starts loading FOR FREE the current operating system version—OS 10.4—on every new iPod [as a bootable drive] in a version that runs on generic Intel boxes? What if they also make 10.4 a free download through the iTunes Music Store?

    Wild speculation, but man, it would be fun to watch the resulting scramble.

    As for me, I'm convinced that if anyone will ever knock off Microsoft, it will be an OS that gets game developers behind them. I've said for years that as weird as it sounds, gamers drive the market. Not many people use computers at home or school for productive uses, most people use them for playing games. The most popular "applications" on my own computer are probably Firefox and City of Heros. Firefox already runs on a zillion platforms. If City of Heroes ran on Linux, I would probably go ahead to switch to a Linux-only system, if for no other reason than it's free and I don't have to buy a new version every few years.

    Once everyone is using an alternative OS (not necessarily Linux, but something other than Windows) at home for games, then they will all want to use it at work and school for productivity and educational applications, and that familiarity will drive more and more companies and schools to switch desktops.

    But that's just my wild speculation...

    • Not many people use computers at home or school for productive uses, most people use them for playing games.

      WTF are you talking about? The gaming aspect of computing is a tiny portion compared to the actual, useful purposes which it serves. Do you have any stats to back up your claims?

      • NEWS AT 11 (Score:2, Funny)

        by tehdely (690619)
        Self-important yutz with a worthless blog noone reads replies to self-important yutz with a worthless blog noone reads.

        TAKE IT TO YOUR BLOGS, BLOGGERS.
    • As for me, I'm convinced that if anyone will ever knock off Microsoft, it will be an OS that gets game developers behind them. I've said for years that as weird as it sounds, gamers drive the market.

      Yes and no. I agree with your opinion of a game-oriented OS having enormous potential - but PORN, not gaming, according too all the internet statistics I've ever seen - drives the market - the truth is not always pretty. Gaming simply has overcome all other forms of popular - and mainstream - entertainment -

    • by nwbvt (768631) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @01:17PM (#13416217)
      "Google has a lot of project in the works, including Gmail, Gtalk, Google Desktop, etc. These projects are anything but mainstream and have a LOT of room for growth. Hell, there's still even room for growth in their primary market, the search engine. Though they are huge, they are far from owning that market."

      Yes, but out of all their many products, they have only one major source of income, Adsense. Their entire business model is based on advertising. Remember how the dot-com boom in the late 90's turned out? And how many of their products work well with Adsense? While I occasionally find the ads coming off of search results useful, I've never seen anything in gmail that was remotely helpful.

      "As for me, I'm convinced that if anyone will ever knock off Microsoft, it will be an OS that gets game developers behind them. I've said for years that as weird as it sounds, gamers drive the market. Not many people use computers at home or school for productive uses, most people use them for playing games."

      I know these are somewhat old numbers, but according to the census bureau [census.gov] in '01:

      • 55.9% of computer uers play games (though that probably counts games like solitare and freecell as well as City of Heroes and Warcraft).
      • 58.1% use it for word processing.
      • 83.5% use it for email.
      • 89.5% use it for the Internet.

      So there are more popular uses.

      "If City of Heroes ran on Linux, I would probably go ahead to switch to a Linux-only system, if for no other reason than it's free and I don't have to buy a new version every few years."

      Try Cedega, I've heard it works fine with that particular game. Not so sure about plain old wine though.

      • Try Cedega, I've heard it works fine with that particular game.

        No, I'm not being facetious, I know about Cedega but really hadn't really considered it before. A quick browse of their database shows that City of Heros does indeed run on it. [transgaming.org]

        Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to try it out. Thanks, man, and I'm glad to see that someone modded you up, though I would have gone with Informative... :-)

    • Well at least for me if Adobe were to come out with PS for Linux I would not need Windows anymore. This is the only ap that is still keeping me from switching and a few software install annoyances. Yes there is GIMP and in due time it might be a contender against PS but Im so used to PS and its ease of use I cant seem to break the habit. Adobes move to Linux could also bring in whordes of digital camera user like me.

      http://www.evolver.ca/ [evolver.ca]

    • What if Apple introduces OS 10.5, its next super-duper operating system release, and at the same time starts loading FOR FREE the current operating system version--OS 10.4--on every new iPod [as a bootable drive] in a version that runs on generic Intel boxes? What if they also make 10.4 a free download through the iTunes Music Store?

      I seem to recall As Seen on TV [slashdot.org] saying that when accessed constantly, iPod hard drives' life expectencies are measured in the tens of hours.
    • The big draw of OS X, and one of the big reasons why it rocks and Windows sucks, is compatibility. Getting device drivers to work, and to work well with each other, is the biggest nightmare to stability and ease of use ever invented.

      I can't imagine that these people who continually suggest that Apple get OS X working on commodity Intel boxes have ever really used Macs. Apple doesn't sell a computer--they sell a user experience. Seriously. From the moment you plug the computer in, you're in a little Apple dr
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Games? Sweet christ how old are you? Think businesses. That is where you'll need to knock off MS first.

      Find a company that offers support, has entrenched mindshare amoung executives that make decsions, and a product that interfaces with existing software and brings something new and absolutely amazing to the table. THEN maybe you'll give MS something to worry about.

      Games, you make me laugh.
    • It wont be games (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gad_zuki! (70830)
      The saying "games drive the market" really is about the rapid upgrade cycle of the home user. Its a great way for intel, nvidia, and the rest to say "See, thats why you need this new chip. You cant play this game!" Its the old keeping up with the jonses strategy and it works.

      Back in the day, Apple thought it could get OS dominance by giving away machines to schools and selling pricey GUI driven machines to business. Well, it ends up that its very convienent for people to buy a computer that runs some of t
  • Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Timesprout (579035) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @12:51PM (#13416050)
    Next question the does not involve endless futile /. speculation please.
  • by Saint Stephen (19450) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @12:51PM (#13416051) Homepage Journal
    Sure, you type in some stuff, and get something that LOOKS highly relevant. How do you know?
  • by Wingfield (872389) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @12:52PM (#13416057)
    Google may be following the typical path, which is generally attributed to the growth of a company. The difference that I see between a company like google and Microsoft is that google generally does an awesome job on virtually everything they release(which, by the way, is all free.) G-mail is hands down the best e-mail service I've ever used, and although I haven't used the new IMing service, I hear that it's very streamlined. I like google. They give me what i need to surf the web efficiently. As long as they don't become bent on world domination like Microsoft, I don't see why them getting bigger would be a problem. In my eyes, it means more resources with which to provide us with better services.
    • Google do lots of cool stuff, and if they joined it up well it could be super cool, but lets not froth at the mouth...

      G-mail is hands down the best e-mail service I've ever used

      Yeah, the ability to write limited abounts of HTML formatted messages and an interface sunken in HTML makes it really good. The only good thing about it is the storage space and integration within google.com/ig, IMHO. I have seen better, but they have all died a miserable death.

      although I haven't used the new IMing servi
    • I hear that it's very streamlined.

      Oh yeah, streamlined indeed babe, it's an IM and only that, no avatars, no offline messages, no integration with other networks, no video, no history, no searching in the inexistant history either, no files transfert... while the XMPP (Jabber) protocol, which is used, implements all of these already...

  • yawn (Score:4, Funny)

    by Chaos_Thoery (797173) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @12:55PM (#13416073)
    These articles are like monthly soap operas. What will happen next? Google gets pregnant? lame.
    • These articles are like monthly soap operas. What will happen next? Google gets pregnant? lame.

      Ummm, yeah, but here we all are talking about it. Even lamer.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 27, 2005 @12:57PM (#13416083)
    I used to love Google, but not anymore. Don't ask why, but reading Google-related stories on slashdot every few hours is one of the reasons.

    This has led me to come up with the seeds of a compelling plan that will bring down Google. It involves making search engines respect privacy and copyright, by law.

    Search engines like Google enable people to compile information from different sources about the same thing. So while one website might not provide enough information about some John Smith, using search engines it is very easy to find out a lot more about that person. And without the consent of that person. This compiled information could be harmful to that person in various ways. CNET was recently shunned by Google because one of it's reporters "googled" Google's CEO and found out some stuff about him. Google didn't like that. I don't like it either when someone else is able to "google me". I'm sure you don't like that as well, after all, it could be a potential employer, spouse, scammer, stalker, etc. who could be "googling" you.

    I am sure most people and entities (companies, government, etc.) would not like to be "googled" because of various reasons. It could be about national security, competitive reasons, personal well-being, etc. They should be able to "opt-out" of internet searches.

    This is what a proposed "Do-Not-Search" law would look like: There would be a national do-not-search registry which the search engines would have to check against before returning the results of each search. All items in the do-not-search registry would have to be excluded from the search results. If the search engine doesn't do that, then there would be penalties associated with it.

    A person or entity, upon presenting some valid credentials, could add some terms to the do-not-search registry. For example, John Smith can exclude himself from being searched. Only problem is, how to ensure other John Smiths are not excluded as well ? This is a 'bug', and will be sorted out soon.

    This is a work in progress, and only began a couple of days ago when all the hoopla surrounding Google Talk reached its height. Your comments/opinions on this would be helpful as well.

    Google needs to be tamed because it is a threat to many of us. I am sure some lawmaker in the US, Canada or Europe would grab on to this and then it will begin. The stock price would tank and the searches would become increasingly complex, time-consuming and irrelevant as the do-not-search registry grows. That would be the end of Google as we know it, and we would have saved slashdot and ourselves.

  • Yeah, right. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cloudkj (685320) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @12:57PM (#13416086)
    There's still SO MUCH more to be done in the field of search itself. The goal of a search engine is to provide the user with the exact result s/he is seeking. Google is doing a decent job right now, but definitely nowhere near ideal. In the ideal world, the application would know exactly what you were looking for, and give it to you. There's a ton of AI stuff that is just emerging. Even IF Google is at its peak, the market itself isn't. Much more to be done!
  • OSS Google Killer? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bbzzdd (769894)

    I was thinking about what could possibly out-Google Google other than some other company making a better search engine.

    Would it be possible to construct an OSS distributed search index, where anyone who participates would donate a portion of their disk to for indexing thus creating a super-distributed, free-Free, Google killer? The only downside I can see is that it might be painfully slow compared to Google, unless some genius out there came up with a clever algorithm to distribute the indices.

    If it

    • by trash eighty (457611) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @01:00PM (#13416107) Homepage
      yeah thats a good idea, a free Google killer.

      having to pay to search on Google is a real bummer... oh wait!
    • Why yes, because I trust J. Random BroadbandUser much more than I trust Google, that's for damn sure!
    • by joeykiller (119489) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @01:53PM (#13416464) Journal
      I've seen a couple of projects on the net trying to achieve this. The obstacle always seems to be speed: Distributed P2P searching won't give near instantaneous answers like Google and Yahoo does.

      But the idea is intriguing. What I've been thinking is that if something like that should be made, it should be done as a part of Firefox. Every page you visit could be indexed by Firefox. Not any other pages. There's not a crawler involved, because you're the crawler: Your surfing habits decides which pages are indexed and which are not.

      Now think about BitTorrent: The more people sharing the same file, the faster you can download it. Imagine if the same applied to your distributed search engine: Often and much visited pages would have a high distribution, and would therefore "be more searchable" and therefore automatically be ranked highly.

      With this you'd get a search engine where pages could be ranked according to popularity and freshness in a way that ordinary search engines cannot do. It would be a kind of social bookmarking service for search.
    • I reckon if Microsoft (or anybody else) does ever manage to wipe out Google, its dying act will be to release all the search engine source code to the world under the GPL.

      Imagine the look of sick horror on BG's face when he realises that by killing Google, he's turned their search technology into a FOSS project.

      As if Linux didn't worry him enough already. . .

      :o)

  • ...I sincerely doubt it justifies an 83 P/E (as of Friday's close). Can we stop hyping them on Slashdot? Please? They're obviously getting enough hype already.
  • by tknn (675865) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @01:00PM (#13416108) Homepage
    While I do think their search algorithm is slowly getting hacked and more link farms are popping up, it seems obvious the plays they are making:

    personal location based services.

    Repeat after me...

    personal location based services.

    Google Maps, the other purchases, google weather and tracking. All this stuff feeds into some sort of local play for the cell-phone/gps space. Maybe car nav systems as well. Ubiquity.

    There is still a lot of things that can be done with information for management if they want to. They could create a directory system similar to Yahoo. They could let you further customize the news and other stuff you receive.
    • Google Maps, the other purchases, google weather and tracking.

      Google maps (and Google Earth) would be much more useful if they had all the urban areas covered at the same resolution.

      There's nothing worse that trying to find the location for an interview, or an apartment to rent, look at the satellite view, only to find a fuzzy collage of grey, black and green blobs.
  • by DeadSea (69598) * on Saturday August 27, 2005 @01:01PM (#13416113) Homepage Journal
    1. As a webmaster, I don't want to rely on Google for 80% of my traffic. I'd like to be able to count on each of three search engines for about 30% of my traffic. Google has been known to throw sites out of their index accidentally.
    2. As a user, I feel that Google knows too much about me already. They have a ton of information about what I search for. With gmail, they have a list of who I know, with maps they have a list of places I go, with froogle they have a list of what I buy.
    I would prefer that some of the other players in search got their act together and improved to the point to be able to challenge Google. I'd prefer if some of the other maps, email, and shopping sites got their act together and became as good as Google.

    Its hard to hate a company that usually has the far superior product, but Google is getting huge and a little scary.

    • Imagine if Google was secretly a government covert operation under a non-threatening company stance, looking to find out everything about anything, in a freaky big-brother-esque reality? That would be quite an interesting holywood shab-shot movie...
  • by hey (83763)
    He's just being contrarian.

    But - jeeze - Google seems to be coming out with an amazing new product each month. I would hardy ask what's everyone going there - they seem to working their asses off.

  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris.beau@org> on Saturday August 27, 2005 @01:02PM (#13416129)
    He started out ok, made a few interesting at least observations about Google behaviour of late. But then with a lot of handwaving and not a lot of reasoning dismisses them as has beens so he can go on yet another tired rant about how Apple is going to rise from insignificance and crush it's enemies.

    Didn't we all get tired of hearing this same song from the Amigans, how any day now _insert company who owns em today_ is going to come back with something wonderful and all the infidels on PCs and Macs will be wailing and gnashing their teeth?

    Apple is a bit player now, will remain a bit player after Intel. In fact, after they perform this one last act for Mr. Gates (get TCPA into mainstream use, something Gates was rightly pilloried for trying under the Palladium name) I'd expect the coup de grace to finally be administered.

    But leave off the last part of that collumn and it does raise an interesting question. Where does Google want to be in ten years?
  • He's right (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 27, 2005 @01:03PM (#13416132)
    You know, this guy who makes a living by getting his name in the press is completely, objectively correct. There's nothing Google can do with the FOUR BILLION dollars they raised in a (small) stock sale.

    There's nothing left to invent in the world. There's nothing more we want from computing. There are no more improvements possible. Rampant spam, spyware, crummy messaging protocols like email and primitive IM are all that we want. We don't need access to more information in other dimensions of our lives, and all the Ph.D.s in the world are not going to find ways to improve our lives through computing.

    Google, if you're listening, please understand: there are no more efficiencies possible in human society, at least through information management. The annual improvement of efficiencies of 4-10% per year noted by macro economists is all smoke screen. Stop making maps, phone-related lookup services, and archives of all the world's libraries. We simply don't want this information, or need it. Please stop trying. K THXS.

    Sincerely, B. Gates
  • by Savantissimo (893682) * on Saturday August 27, 2005 @01:05PM (#13416142) Journal
    Cringely:
    Every one of those iPods is a bootable drive. What if Apple introduces OS 10.5, its next super-duper operating system release, and at the same time starts loading FOR FREE the current operating system version -- OS 10.4 -- on every new iPod in a version that runs on generic Intel boxes? What if they also make 10.4 a free download through the iTunes Music Store?


    It wouldn't kill Microsoft, but it would hurt the company, both emotionally and materially. And it wouldn't hurt Apple at all. Apple hardware sales would be driven by OS 10.5 and all giving away 10.4 would do is help sell more iPods and attract more customers to Apple's store.


    I have only one comment on this: BWA-HA-HA-HA!
    But it'll never happen.
  • by Continental (738540) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @01:06PM (#13416146)
    Maybe Google has peaked, or maybe they're just in a bit of a valley right now (see the underwhelming debuts of GTalk and GDS 2). I can give that to Cringely. But Apple giving away copies of OS X?? Even old copies, especially old copies? That's insane. If they really wanted more market share Apple could just preload porn on all new video iPods.
  • OK, I'll say it... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by resprung (410576) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @01:07PM (#13416155) Homepage
    Everybody is rooting for brilliant convergence, but Google is a such a mess nowadays, it's just not going to happen.

    Google Video is a ratty service, even for a beta, I've regretted the time I spent uploading content. No way it's going to shine.

    Google Talk is a callback to 1995.

    Picasa and Hello are glued messily together, and posting from Hello is flaky.

    There's a bushel of great services too, but the whole Google concept is just all over the place.
  • ...not until Sergey Brin and Larry Page jump over a shark tank on their motorcycles... After that there'll be a cute but irritating cousin who comes to live with them, and after that, they all move to LA and take up professional surfing and crimefighting.

    THEN it's all over. Or at least has jumped the shark [jumptheshark.com]... Same thing.
  • Last week (i believe) Google announced selling more than $4 *billion* in stock. From the company: "We anticipate that we will use the net proceeds from this offering for general corporate purposes, including working capital and capital expenditures"

    General corporate purposes? Yeah right. Google is likely up to something big. And it isn't going to end with maps and im (my personal guess is an os). If goog hasn't peaked, they certainly are going to make a lot of noise falling.
    • oops I meant to say if "google has peaked, ..."
    • Personally I think they are going to release an office suite that runs from your browser. They could take the OOo codebase, with the work done by the NeoOffice/J team get the whole thing working in Java;

      OR they could do their own with all the new web technologies out there that have been pushing hard with Google Maps, etc.

      But, to come back to it, having a free, MS compatible office suite that stores all your documents in your 10gb (or whatever it is by then) gMail account so it's accessible everywhere you g
  • Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bogtha (906264) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @01:09PM (#13416165)

    This has to be a new low. "I don't know what Google are doing, so I'll write about how I don't know what Google are doing!"

    Every one of those iPods is a bootable drive. What if Apple introduces OS 10.5, its next super-duper operating system release, and at the same time starts loading FOR FREE the current operating system version -- OS 10.4 -- on every new iPod in a version that runs on generic Intel boxes? What if they also make 10.4 a free download through the iTunes Music Store?

    I thought this "OS X on generic Intel boxes" thing had been done to death? How are Apple going to solve the driver problem? Giving away a free older version that doesn't work with half your hardware is going to make a negative impression, not a positive one.

  • Feeling Lucky (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @01:12PM (#13416184) Homepage Journal
    What if Google's plan is to actually deliver on the 1990s promise of a "Web Desktop", one app at a time? They're doing it 1990s "spiral development" style, rolling out one complete feature at a time. Amassing the best (or #2 behind Apple) brand in the world, with a "Google feel" of simplicity, immediacy, and nonintrusion. When they lay a layer of association across their related apps, so their Earth model is related not only to your searches (including history of clicks) but also to your contacts and purchases, presenting your online life to you seamlessly wherever you "hit the Web", they'll have endrun Microsoft and everyone else in the "computer business". All those other companies will be merely component suppliers, and the customer relationship will belong to Google. Which is where every seller wants to be - so all those other vendors will have to go through Google to get to the customer. Without all the "evil" baggage of Microsoft, or "complicated" baggage of AOL. Of course, Google won't be able to totally monopolize that relationship, nor hold it forever without challenge. But they will be in the catbird seat for long enough to have all the advantages of perpetuating their power that incumbent market dominators get. It remains to be seen just how benevolent, and benign, is their ruling of that roost - if they achieve it.
    • Hallo, How are yourself doing ? You want a Web Desktop ? Meet the World Wide Web. Don't need to go one app at a time as there are gazillions of apps out there, ALREADY. Web based apps. They are called websites. Good, now you know about it. Please don't torture yourself with all this thinking. Google hasn't been doing anything new. They make money from ads. If you have used gmail, you will HOPE and PRAY that customer relationship does not belong to google. Have you never seen gmail error pages like "Cross
  • by ScentCone (795499) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @01:12PM (#13416191)
    ... because even the most virulent (ahem) MS-loathers have to be aware that they're sounding a little stale these days. The sheer drama of a once-romantic company like Google making the transition from dewey-cheeked lass to, well, a grown-up company will fuel slashdot rants for years. This is mostly due to the dislike, on the part of so many users here, of the realities of what it takes to be a large, publicly-held, growing tech company (i.e., make money for the people who invested so much cash, solidify the brand, beat or absorb competition, and show that you have what it will take to continue to grow indefinately). The real drama comes from Google's original "no evil" clause, coupled with the completely rudderless definition of "evil" as used by slashdotters. Thus will Google simply become a canvas on which to paint every argument about capitalism, openess, income disparity, regulation, monopolism, liberalism, conservatism, and operating system religions.

    It's not so much the fun we'll have watching certain G-accolytes feeling betrayed. It's the fun we'll have watching so many people realize they've simply been projecting their own notions onto a company that's now so large and visible that the disconnect will be obvious, even to those addled enough to have thought that there could be something that big, "free," and still beyond the reach of normal economic realities. We're not seeing Google "peak," we're seeing the Google fanboy fantasy peak. I use their tools dozens of times every day. As a surfer, as a consultant, as a merchant, as a consumer, as a driver, as a communicator... but for some reason, as much as I'm impressed with pretty much everything they do, I've not ever quite heard the siren song that so many others seem to hear. I'm always impressed, but not so much seduced. Perhaps it's because I don't have the abiding hatred for Google's competition found in so many others - that makes the whole issue less emotional, I think.
    • ...a once-romantic company like Google making the transition from dewey-cheeked lass to, well, a grown-up company...

      It's not so much the fun we'll have watching certain G-accolytes feeling betrayed....

      I find it humorously appropriate that as I read through this post of yours, my iTunes random playlist switched to one of the sadder, more tragic tracks from the "Revenge of the Sith" soundtrack. :-)
    • Personally, I don't think it's the hatred of other companies that drives Google fanboyism (I'm a fanboy myself, I'll admit it).

      What makes it exciting for me is that they are the one company, at this point in time, that seems to have that innovative drive along with the resources to fund those ideas. I don't have Microsoft or Yahoo... they just appear to have lost their drive. They improve their products, but they always seem to be in lockstep behind Google. (Some examples: Yahoo releases Search. Google
  • by eno2001 (527078) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @01:21PM (#13416256) Homepage Journal
    Much like Digital they only employ people who "get it" when it comes to technology and real innovation. Theire chosen back end OS? Linux. Wise choice especially on the technical end. Unfortunately, there are some people who think that technology should exist for business and that's when things go sour. That's what happened to Digital. They were run by some of the most brilliant engineers, but they hhad to compete against other companies run by suits who only care about making money and not advancing technology or society. Most of the time techs can't beat suits at business. Let's hope this isn't the case with Google. I really like seeing companies that are more focussed on moving technology forward and less focussed on insane profit. (Yeah, I know they make a lot of money from ads, but they apparently aren't totally focussed on it because they've been coming out with the most innovative stuff due to their sole focus on the advancement and innovation with technology.)
  • What if everyone is mainly wrong? What if search and PageRank and AdSense are Google's corporate apex. Most companies would be content with that, but Google isn't supposed to be like most companies. But what if they are?

    What if Cringely came to work one day and couldn't think of a single bit of unfounded speculation, or a single word of bizarre Apple cheerleading? So far there are no signs of this happening, but what if it did?

    Cringely is such an ass.

  • has the amount of Google stories posted on Slashdot peaked? Insiders say no and also point out dupes, inflammatory stories and Zonk blogs are also on the rise. CmdrTaco was unavailable for comment. CowboyNeal was quoted as saying, "[CmdrTaco] is laughing all the way to the bank".
  • God damn, the company is just a few years old. It's like watching a nervous parent with a baby: "OMG he just cried! is he hungry? is he STARVING?!!?" (baby sneezes) "OMG! is he sick? is he DYING?!?!?" Fucking A, give'em a couple years, OK?

    Has journalism always been like this? Were there articles 95 years ago asking stupid questions like "Does Ford's lack of a steam vehicle spell the death of this company?"

    If anything, the success of MS has shown us that you don't even need smart people and good products to

  • The question of what those 600+ PhDs are doing is quite a natural one. It seems that it takes that much brain power to keep the system running smoothly. Can you imagine how difficult is to mine the daily amount of data that is produced? or intelligent ways to foil google spammers? or to distinguish what is dark web garbage from what is dark web gold?

    Microsoft history's shows that a company can grow tremendously big on the basis of a single insight that is never replicated (the single insight of M$ is "softw
  • by crucini (98210) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @01:25PM (#13416283)
    From their tenthings [google.com] page:
    2. It's best to do one thing really, really well.

    Google does search. With one of the world's largest research groups focused exclusively on solving search problems, we know what we do well, and how we could do it better.

    Followed by some defensive fudging to link the "hardcore search" mantra with the current portalization of google. Interesting note at the page bottom:
    * Full-disclosure update: When we first wrote these "10 things" four years ago, we included the phrase "Google does not do horoscopes, financial advice or chat." ...

    What the recent NCSA study showed, contrary to the slashdot interpretation, is that Google remains very vulnerable to keyword spammers, while Yahoo is quite good at muting them.

    Google is no longer a clear-cut leader in search, and they are branching out to the full spectrum of portal services. And it's not clear that they will succeed in these new areas.

    I'm very grateful to Google for increasing the demand for engineers, pressuring other companies to ramp up engineering and prioritize innovation, and teaching the world that giant flashing gifs and paid placement listings were not the way to go. And Google Maps shows that Google is still capable of giant leaps forward.

    I'm puzzled, however, by the level of Google fanboyism on slashdot. I guess a lot of you were "imprinted" by Google back in the Dark Ages of search when nothing else worked right, and cannot see them objectively.
  • What if search and PageRank and AdSense are Google's corporate apex.

    That's probably true, but it's completely irrelevant. There are still countless areas in which they can APPLY PageRank and AdSense.
  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @01:30PM (#13416317)
    I agree with Cringley that Microsoft shouldn't overlook Apple and focus too much on Google. The recent migration to Intel should have sent warning signs. If Mac OSX on Intel performs better and more reliablly then Windows, PC makers like Dell and HP can't use the megahertz argument. That's a big "if" though.

    The other reason the Intel move hurts Microsoft is less subtle. By switching to Intel, Apple hurts development on the new Xbox360. Right now development is done on Apple G5s probably because of the similiarity in chip architectures. By moving away from PowerPC, Apple makes it harder for game companies to develop. Sure developers could probably use something else like Intel emulating PowerPC or an IBM PowerPC machine. But the later is very expensive ($5K a piece) and the former doesn't provide for real-world simulations.

  • Bias: I'm studying for a Business Management Info Systems Degree.

    There are a few obvious wrongs in this article:

    It's just a hunch of mine, but with more than $2.5 billion in cash already on-hand, I don't think Google has any plans at all for that extra $4 billion.

    You don't just do that unless you have some sort of a plan. It may be long term (rather than short term, which is all analysts in the US tend to care about... unlike their european or asian counterparts)... but it's unlikely there is no plan.

    I'd s

  • ...really all about?

    in comparison to a few other computer industry companies, google still ain't very big. In fact they are rather small.

    What was Bill Gates last estimated personal worth? 30 Billion or so?

    And this 4 billion company stock... compairs to that how?

    And lets not forget the oil business... don't forget the price of oil is rising as the US free up a country rich in oil and we all know its money going to terrorist who want to kill us...(rolls eyes)

    Get a perspective people, I'm sure those blowing th
  • first stage (2006-2007):

    Mac on X86 comes out. a lot of mac users buy the new systems.

    the mac X86s cost about the same as dell machines (since apple does not pay OS tax to MS and other third party software vendors like dell does) a lot of linux users buy macs to run linux.

    power windows geeks buy these macs to run mac and win via dual boot.

    second stage (2007):

    virtualization software like vmware or wine are ported to osx on mac - windows users start to buy these systems and use win on top of mac osX. many ipod
  • I think it's clear that Google Labs will be what Bell Labs was 30 years ago. Trust me, we haven't even seen a fraction of what they are currently working on. You can doubt what they are doing all you like, it doesn't change the fact that they are packed with talent. Perhaps they will not be as hugely profitable as they have been with AdSense, Bell Labs never made great profits, but I have no doubt they will be the most innovative place on the planet for the next 10 years.
  • Cringley claims that Google won't come up with any radically new products, but I can think of at least one.

    Last I heard, Google was working on an improved way of doing machine translation. If they manage to get it to the point where it can translate from one language to another as well as a moderately competent human translator can... the breakthrough would be as powerful as Google itself (i.e., the search engine) was.

    Of course, some people would say that such a powerful machine translator cannot exis

  • by roman_mir (125474) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @02:10PM (#13416553) Homepage Journal
    Robert X. Cringely confirms: Google is dying!

  • Certainly not on Slashdot ... judging by the number of stories were subjected to on a daily basis.
  • What are they DOING in all those buildings with all those PhDs?

    Apparently not thinking much about Linux.

    In fact, I don't think most of those supposed smart people working for Google even understand Linux. Alot of hype, that's all it is.
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @02:58PM (#13416794) Journal
    He believes Microsoft's greatest threat may come from Apple, in that case I believe he may be living in the past, thinking companies of the past may pose the largest threats. What if people like him are wrong, and Google's mission and their web services is the model for many future IT companies, and the actual hardware you buy will start playing less of a role than it once used to? Even today, I notice myself buying brand new computer systems far less than before. Not even the games (and yes, it's modern games) require a new computer as often as they used to. More often than not, it's just about a new graphics card if anything at all, not about upgrading your 8 MB ram to 16 MB like you used to. You can often keep running with the 512 MB you bought four years ago.

    And when it's about web services, it's their hardware that matters, not Apple's. It seems like the author is putting an awful lot of trust in that hardware markets will decide everything, in an age when web services become more and more complex.
    • I think you hit the nail squarely on the head. What a lot of people fail to understand--the author of the article included--is that the tech world is not just going through another shift, but that the nature of the tech world is change. It's unlikely to ever become stagnant.

      I honestly can't understand the latest popular mantra: "Google has peaked". It seems that those espousing that view or so deeply rooted in traditional ideas of what or how a business should perform that they fail to see that the real

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