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Thursday, October 14, 2004

Probably the biggest news in search this year. Google announces desktop search. You can download the application here. I would highly recommend getting the news from John Battelle's blog - as usual, he sums up a lot of my thoughts on the matter...only he sums them up better.

I have to say that this comes as quite a shock to me. I seem to remember a post on this blog where I said something like "Google HAS to create a browser". Well, I was wrong. This is a much much better idea and I feel a bit stupid that I didn't see it coming. When I was talking about google getting into the browser wars, I was thinking that Google needed a presence on the desktop that allowed "monitoring" of your web activities. I was right about that bit, but completely off on the best way to achieve that. This "computer browser" idea does the same thing from a different perspective. Fantastic idea. Simple. Clean. Effective.

Now the hard part...how do you get people to install it? This is definitely one of those "metcalf's law" thingies because the more google knows about you (as, say, a software developer) and your interests, the more they know about me (another software developer) and my potential interests. As the system improves, it is used more and etc, etc. But now that the cat is out of the bag, competitors should be pretty quick to follow....so google should have a big push already planned to get people to install this little do-hickey.

I mean, I am going to install it because...well, I am a nerd. ...but a non-nerd? I don't know, how do you explain the advantage? Even being a nerd, I see far more immediate advantage for google then for me. I think most non-technical people are loath to install something that doesn't have a nice GUI or immediately effect them. This looks more like a patch for Google then a compelling product.

Ideas: viral marketing (free ipod for signing up 10 friends), wrapping the product into some other helpful do-hickey (like the toolbar), or making it a "requirement" to run a service - like GMail.

I wonder how long it will take for competitors to respond. ...off the top of my head, I will guess a year.

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