Forecast 2007: Destination Google?

    December 27, 2006

2006 marked a year of acquisitions for Google, with JotSpot and YouTube chief among the list of properties absorbed by the undisputed champion of search. So what does 2007 hold in store for the company?

Perhaps it involves figuring out how to make all of these wonderful toys actually work together.

Google currently boasts platforms in search, wiki, video (twice over), blogging, e-mail, RSS feed aggregation, basic office applications, maps, finance, social networking, instant messaging, and VoIP will be coming soon.

I’m sure that there are more items of interest than the ones I’ve mentioned here, but I think you all get the point; Google has an impressive amount of tools at its disposal when it comes to services.

The world often seems fragmented by sheer enormity of choices at one’s disposal. You have separate providers for cellular service, television programming, Internet access, and so forth. Google, conversely, is working to seamlessly integrate its services in order to provide its users with a less fragmented, more convenient technological atmosphere.

An IndianPad blogger also conveys the same sentiment:

“Since 9/11 the world has felt increasingly fragmented. Reading the papers, one senses that many Americans are emotionally withdrawing from the world and that the world is drifting away from America. The powerful sense of integration that the go-go-globalizing 1990’s created, the sense that the world was shrinking from a size medium to a size small, feels over now.

The reality, though, is quite different. While you were sleeping after 9/11, not only has the process of technological integration continued, it has actually intensified-and this will have profound implications. I recently went out to Silicon Valley to visit the offices of Google, the world’s most popular search engine. It is a mind-bending experience. You can actually sit in front of a monitor and watch a sample of everything that everyone in the world is searching for.”

So what exactly is the world searching for? To put it succinctly – a lot.

Sex, news, gossip, professional wrestling, real estate, used car parts; you name it, and chances are someone is searching for it online. With such a broad spectrum of user interests, it becomes important for services providers to become just as broad in their offerings, but also retain the same quality of information.

This seems to be Google’s plan, as it looks in 2007 to develop further integration between all of its services. Michael Hickins at feels this is the strategy that Google will use in continuing to leverage itself against Microsoft:

“So how does Google continue to outrun Microsoft? One of the answers is robust integration. The more you lock in someone horizontally across your applications, the more advantage you can get.”

This all seems great conceptually, but how is Google going to actually implement such a grand undertaking? What will true integration look like?

Its plans for Google Talk and Orkut, outlined nicely by this blogger, begin to shed some light on this.

“It seems like Google could be working on integrating Google Talk into their social networking tool, Orkut. The Google Talk and Orkut teams are rumored to be in the final stages of the developmental integration, with news of the rollout this week. Google came to the decision to integrate the two tools when they noticed that users of Orkut quite frequently had their Talk application open.

Through the new Google Talk integration, Orkut users will be able to voice chat or instant message other users immediately. Users of Orkut, will also have their friends list show up in their GTalk users buddy list. Maybe this will pump up Orkut, and move it on up to competing with the likes of MySpace.”

And let’s face it; winning the competition – and subsequently leveraging the almighty advertising dollar – is really what it’s all about here.

Whether it’s Microsoft, MySpace, Yahoo, or some other competitor, Google is going for the jugular with this integration strategy. Sure, it will take a number of years to actually produce any sort of measurable result, but my gut tells me that Google could wind up becoming the Wal-Mart of the Internet, a one-stop place to get everything you could possibly need.

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Joe is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.