Woke up this morning to the news about iGoogle, the latest official product offering from the search company. Actually, as I read through the various Techmeme story links, I see that Google really calls it a service. Let’s get the name out of the way first: unfortunately, anything preceded by an "i" will cause most consumers to think "Apple". I’m willing to bet that some immediate reactions will be "Oh, Google joined with Apple for some service". Not a big deal and from what I understand, the name concept is at least two years old. Still, something I might have considered changing unless I wanted people to perceive this as a Google venture with Apple.
OK, so now for the service itself: it’s a non-programmatical way to create widgets for a personalized Google portal. Sounds fine to me and certainly there’s value there. Google has the ability to leverage its powerful search algorithms combined with your personal search data as well as your Google accounts for Gmail, Docs your location setting in Maps and more. Combining all of this personalized information is what Google does best and if you an provide a way to customize the look and feel of it without introducing any programming, I’d say you’ve got something that people will adopt.
As I sit and read though the coverage of iGoogle, a few thoughts come to mind:
- When does it end? Or does it? Will we have a "Google Grid" as some have predicted where Google is the main Internet ecosystem that houses and provides all of your information about you?
- What will the impact be to other personalized portal pages and platforms? Microsoft, Yahoo, Netvibes and many others can’t be too happy right now.
- Keeping with the main theme of mobile technology, what’s the mobile impact? Will Google’s mobile pages be updated to reflect these personalizations? Is this what the Google Phone will do?
I’m not saying that Google is "bad" here, but I think there are some interesting questions and some key observations to watch for over time in this space. What do you think? Are you ready to have a majority of your information from a single platform as it appears we’re headed towards? There’s definitely some key benefits of tying yourself and your data with a single or just a few entities; no question about it. There’s also some risk when everything is off with a service provider and they have an issue; if you don’t think so, just ask a Blackberry user that lost service for 12 hours with the recent outage incident.