Earlier this week, I lamented what Google didn't do in 2008, but with the year winding down let's consider what's on tap at Google for 2009.
Garret Rogers over at ZDNet is thinking that there will be several mobile devices running Google's Android mobile operating system.
I know, I know. Stating the obvious a little. But in this obscene economy, it's OK to play it safe. Of course, there will be more Android devices, probably from Sprint, Motorola, Samsung, Kogan, Garmin and God knows who else.
But while we're on the subject, I'd like to add to this list that we should see an Android netbook in 2008. Why not? Netbooks have gone gangbusters in 2008. Just ask Amazon, which said the Acer Aspire One netbook was king.
Correction: If the
Ubuntu-EEE operating system Xandros flavor of Linux on Asus netbooks is a hit, why can't the Linux-based Android OS score points with manufacturers and consumers alike?
Speaking of working with manufacturers, Rogers says Google will strike deals with computer OEMs for Chrome, and Chrome will snag a "significant chunk of the browser market." I absolutely agree. Google has to if it's serious about getting any penetration for Chrome.
Why not some Android-flavored netbooks packaged with Chrome from Asus, Acer, HP or Dell?
Wow! That's bold considering that four months in, Chrome has landed less than 1 percent or so, according to Net Applications. But if Google lands some OEMs for Android and bundles Chrome onto those netbooks, or even regular laptops and PCs, that number will rocket.
Mozilla proved Internet Explorer is not invincible, and if it can get 20 percent worldwide adoption in a handful of years, Chrome can certainly get 10 percent in a year with the oomph of some OEMs.
Rogers revives the specter of a Google operating system. My sources say no, but Google refuses to deny the possibility, fueling the speculation.
Rogers also says Google Apps will gain momentum in the enterprise, thanks to the woeful economy. Agreed, but I'm going to be more cautious here and curb my enthusiasm. Google scored a number of major contracts in 2007 and was pretty public about them.
While Google Apps went nuts from an innovation standpoint, the business deals seemed pretty quiet. I mean, Serena Software was overjoyed to tell me about switching its users to Google Gmail, but Google didn't make a peep about this.
I believe we'll see more midsize contracts in the 1,000- to 2,000-seat range rather than large multithousand-seat subscriptions, which is nothing to write home about. Hopefully, Google Enterprise President Dave Girouard is itching to prove me wrong and we'll see Google trumpet some big deals by spring 2009.
But let's extend this and say the cloud computing providers overall will exceed expectations. Think Salesforce.com, Zoho and plenty of other more bottom-feeding scavengers picking up crumbs from the SAAS/cloud computing table. You know who you are.
Finally, yes, Google will get more frugal. This is just as safe a prediction as the idea that there will be more Android smartphones.
We're already seeing Google's frugality in the shelving of Lively, Research Datasets and SearchMash. Knol could go, along with other less serious, frivolous projects that don't feed Google's money machine.
Google Operating System's Chitu, meanwhile, has some bolder predictions I will pick up in another post before the new year. For example, he says Marissa Mayer will leave the company.
That would be rough because she does the best job articulating the company's search strategy and keeping the user interface squeaky clean. Imagine if she ended up at Facebook or some other up-and-comer? It could happen.
What do you expect to happen at Google in 2009?