TITLE: Google Fun and Future AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: December 16, 2004 2:34 PM DESC: Google gives us lots of toys, but these toys are the exploration vehicles that will help the company grow -- and expand the horizon of users. ----- BODY: I added "google" to my OS X spell-checker's dictionary yesterday morning. I'm surprised that it's taken me this long. I'm also reminded of a couple of cool Google services I've been playing with of late. To be honest, I'm not sure how much I'll use these services after my initial playing phase. I've never been a big fan auto-completion, except when I request it explicitly through, say, emacs's tab key. I've read that the dynamic HTML implementation beneath the hood of Suggest is a valuable attempt to extend the diversity and quality of web app interfaces, but that's outside my domain of expertise. Indeed, I'm not certain that these particular services will be the ultimate wins that arise from the techniques used. For example, Joel Spolsky says this about Google Suggest:
It's important not for searching, but because it's going to teach web users to expect highly responsive user interfaces.
My thoughts about the things you find at Google Labs were focused more on Google and its vitality as a leading corporation. The idea is that Google can use its massive databases and computing power to gain leverage beyond traditional web search. I'm not much of a visionary when it comes to predicting what emerging goods, services, and technologies will win big in the future. If I were, I could do better than a professor's salary! But services like Suggest and Sets and Scholar are innovative ways for Google to explore the horizon of the services its offers, and ultimately to push the boundaries of its technology -- and the boundaries of what we can do as users. -----