Monday, May 16, 2005

Google PC?

Mark Evans


Robert Cringely (a.ka. i Cringely) is causing quite a stir within the blogsphere with a new column on inflexion points and what's going on at Microsoft, Apple and Google. It's a definite must-read for anyone looking to see where technology is headed. His take on Google and its Web Page Accelerator service caught my attention because of the potential implications for Dell, HP, etc. Cringely believes if WPA takes hold, it could open the door for Google to sell Internet access and PCs, which I suspect would be a dumbed down terminal to do Web browsing, e-mail and some word processing. (Cringely describes this concept as "GoogleWorld".) It is an intriguing, yet scary, proposition. It's exciting in that Google could massively change the competitive dynamic of the Internet and PC industries. The troubling part is Google could create its own "Walled Garden" by providing access to Web sites within its global caching network - kind of what AOL did so successful as the Web Wide Web hit the mainstream. As much I like Google's search technology, its willingness to publicly experiment with new Web services (Froogle, Gmail, etc.) and its business model (ripped off from Overture, mind you), the last thing you want to see is such a dominant player. There needs to be vibrant and viable competition for innovation to thrive. As much as Google's official mantra is "Don't Be Evil", its stratetgic thrust suggests the number one priority is "Ka-Ching".

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