Friday, February 2, 2007

Google...going down? No.

I apologize in advance. This is a really long post about Google. Move on if that's not your thing.

So, of course Google's not going down, not anytime soon. Still, I'm so committed to various Google services, everything about Google is on my radar.

Currently I use Google Base, Blogger, Bookmarks, Calendar, Co-op (for the custom search engines), Docs and Spreadsheets, Gmail, Notebook, Picasa, Reader, Personalized Search, Talk, Video, Alerts (SO underrated), Desktop, Earth, Finance, Maps, News, Toolbar for Firefox, Mobile Maps, Mobile Gmail, SMS services, Blog Search, Notebook, and occasionally, Trends. Phew - I'd link to the sites for those services, but that would take me all day.

It's been great, and is getting better, as these products get more interwoven (note the Google Reader links, and NYC Food Search on my Blogger blog). So I'm a little sensitive to the "Google is going down" sentiment, I'm smelling the first whiffs of.

It started with a post at the Micro Persuasion blog, titled "Wikipedia is the next Google." The premise being, as Google is taking down Microsoft, Google is ripe for being taken down. While I'm a fan of the Micro Persuasion blog, and Wikipedia, that argument is silly. Just because Google has far it can fall, doesn't mean it will. Wikipedia is a great reference, and I use it all the time, and I find it mostly credible. Still, it is subject to getting hijacked, aka "Wikiality" and speaking of, its content for Stephen Colbert is probably more extensive than for most American Presidents. So while Wikipedia is good for searches on nouns and prevalent topics, you couldn't use it to search for lyrics, such as "I'm as serious as cancer when I say rhythm is a dancer." I'm also Googling stuff to research this blog post, not using Wikipedia.

I came across another post, viewing the "Wikipedia vs Google" battle in terms of open source, vs for-profit. His point - Wikipedia has more useful information about San Francisco than a Google search. From the post:

If I want to learn about San Francisco, I could type 'San Francisco' into Google and see what Google’s computers spew out. I can trudge through the results and hopefully find what I want if I spend enough time.

Well, that really depends on what you're looking for. Wikipedia isn't going to give you information about a restaurant in San Francisco, suggested itineraries, a street corner in San Fran, or any "fat tail" information. If you Google San Francisco, there are links to further refine the search, by topic.

What people are missing is that where Google may be vulnerable is its attempts to take down MS Office. Frankly, I use Google Spreadsheets, and it is crap compared to Excel. Also, I dislike both Word and Google Docs. So when I read about the Zoho Notebook buzz, it seems like this is the only service I've seen that would replace anything I use by Google. More on Zoho to come.

Update: Here is the Zoho Notebook Announcement video, on YouTube.

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