Google's Gears Grind Slowly

Fellow GARDers*, it is said that the gears of the gods grind slowly, which means that while they may take their sweet time, they inexorably get wherever they intend.

* GARD=Google Attention and Reaction District

Google is dead serious about Google Voice, make no mistake. It's part of a pincer movement that began with the first whispers of Google Apps, enhanced by Google Gears and then Chrome. Now we have the voice component--and everyone seems to agree that voice will be the GUI of the future.

The way I see it, Google Apps is a way of capturing your data. This isn't pernicious in intent, and it does give you a centralized place to store information and collaborate with colleagues and partners. Companies using SharePoint also use Google Docs to collaborate with people outside the corporate firewall.

That's just the first step in Google's juggernaut -- destination Desktop. The next step is, of course, Google Gears, which Google hopes will mobilize an army of volunteers creating applications that work both online and off (offline access being, for the time being at least, Google's Achilles Heel).

Chrome is the next nail in Microsoft's coffin (no one on either side bothers denying that they are each other's main rival), and if it continues gaining share in the browser market at its current pace, may push Explorer into uncharted territory (which is to say, no longer first place).

Now comes Voice, which, among many other features, would make both the email and contacts features of Outlook, if not obsolete, at the very least irrelevant.

Sometimes, Google seems to over-reach or overextend itself, but it looks pretty formidable when it puts its mind to a given problem.

Ironically, the only area where Google can't seem to get serious traction despite very serious efforts is enterprise search. Most customers believe--and analysts concur--that while Google is king of Web search, it doesn't have the Wheaties for bringing back meaningful results in searches of corporate databases.

I said earlier that Google is engaged in a pincher movement, and the main company in danger of getting squeezed out is Microsoft. But it's too early, and Microsoft employs too many bright people, to be counted out this early.

What are the chinks in Google's armor? Let me know your thoughts.