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IoT
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Mobile // Mobile Applications
Commentary
10/4/2005
03:43 PM
Tom Smith
Tom Smith
Commentary
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Where Isn't Google?

I was recently helping my daughter locate French-English translations on the Internet, and we couldn't find the information we needed through nearly a half-dozen online versions of widely used dictionaries. Where we ultimately found the translations: Google, or more specifically, Google Language Tools. Prior to this experience, I didn't even know this service existed. Not only was Google the only site where we could get the information, it prov

I was recently helping my daughter locate French-English translations on the Internet, and we couldn't find the information we needed through nearly a half-dozen online versions of widely used dictionaries. Where we ultimately found the translations: Google, or more specifically, Google Language Tools.

Prior to this experience, I didn't even know this service existed. Not only was Google the only site where we could get the information, it provided the answers in a simple, elegant fashion.I raise this background in the context of today's announcement between Google and Sun, under which Sun will make the Google Toolbar -- Google's browser-based search software -- available as an option for consumers who download its Java Runtime Environment. Google, in turn, will promote Sun software. This deal is just the latest example of Google expanding beyond the search engine/Internet marketplace and raising the stakes against Microsoft.

With a laundry list of industry relationships, acquisitions and new deals either recently completed or on the docket, Google is demonstrating it has the appetite for taking on all comers, in both the business-to-business and business-to-consumer realms.

How valuable is a relationship with Google? Sun, which has suffered through revenue declines and a severely depressed stock price in recent years, saw its stock shoot up nearly 8% today before details of the relationship emerged. With that sort of halo effect, the list of vendors looking to partner with Google will remain long and illustrious.

A couple questions worth pondering:

  • Is Google trying to do too much? Will it learn from the now-10-year-old example of Netscape, which spread itself too thin and got crushed? (Ironically, Netscape's browser will be offered as a browser choice on HP PCs, it was announced today -- Netscape Lives).
  • Will Google's soaring ambitions cause it to run afoul of the law? Thus far, it hasn't faced excessive scrutiny for the privacy implications of some of its many technology initiatives, but will that change over time?
I don't have the answers to these questions but am pretty convinced that Google is now setting the agenda that the rest of the computer industry must follow. Do you agree?

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