Google Meshes Offer Great Potential but Pose Challenges
I've been reading a lot of googly-eyed blog posts on how Google has married YouTube videos with Google Earth.
So, when you click on a location, you could see video supplied by others tracking that ski slope in Colorado, or the ocean in Hawaii. Now that's what I call a collaborative Web experience! Kudos, Googlers.
I'm more interested in the gradual integration of Google products. With all of Google's applications -- consumer and enterprise alike -- it's fun to conjure new ways of bundling the disparate software.
For example, the company just announced that Search Appliance 5.0 meshes with Google Apps, allowing users to search Google Mail and Docs. That is the kind of integration I think we need to see more of to make Google Apps an effective competitor in the Microsoftian world of software.
Imagine a world where these search and Apps capabilities, a blending I would characterize as enterprise bundling, were tied to more consumer-facing platforms. Think Apps married to Google's Orkut social network, which is allegedly on tap to be open for external development.
Such an offering would be equal parts compelling and frightening. It would be compelling because you could create documents in Apps and share it with people in your social network to work on in a collaborative capacity.
It would be frightening because it would take us further down the path that Gartner outlined at its Web Innovation show last month: a world where work and play are blurring.
We would all live like doctors, always on call, slaves to our Blackberrys or Google phones, which would of course be loaded with the hybrid Google suites.
Google would have to be careful with such a delicate undertaking because it doesn't want to mess with something that isn't broke. You don't want to integrate something and have your users despise you for it.
Remember when Google said it was putting ads in YouTube Videos? The company was shellacked for it in blog posts.
But in the meantime it's OK to enjoy fun fusions such as YouTube and Google Earth.