Friday, September 23, 2005

Keep an Eye on Google

Earlier this month, Google had its seventh birthday.

From its humble beginnings in a garage in Menlo Park, California, the corporation has become synonymous with "search engine." In fact, the word "google" is now a verb as people routinely say things like "Did you google him?"

Since it began in 1998, Google has continued to spin off new businesses and new technologies. AdWords, which Google describes as "a self-service ad program" was introduced in 2000. In 2001, Google Image Search and Google Catalog Search were launched. Google News and Froogle, "a product search service," followed in 2002.

In 2003, Google acquired Blogger, the very same provider on which you are now reading this weblog. That spawned AdSense, a program by which bloggers can add ads to their blogs and earn revenue based on the number of visitors to their sites.

By 2004, Google's site index had increased to 6 billion items, including 4.28 billion web pages and 880 million images. They launched Local Search so that users could find products in their own neighborhoods. And, in April of that year, they announced "a new web-based mail service called Gmail, which . . . included a gigabyte of free storage for each user."

In August of 2004, Google's Initial Public Offering (IPO) occurred, marking the beginning of Google's experience as a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ.

This summer, Google released Google Talk, "a free way to actually speak to people anytime, anywhere via your computer." And, this month, they released Google Blog Search to permit search of weblogs around the world and to compete with

In two weeks, Vinton Cerf, who has been called the Father of the Internet (he co-invented the protocol called TCP/IP which permits data transfer) will officially begin to work at Google. And this brings me to the reason for suggesting you keep an eye on Google.

For years, Google has been collecting and organizing data on the web browsing habits of its users. In an interview with TechWeb News, Cerf gave hints on the company's future plans. "I see Google creating information infrastructure, literally, as it goes about adding applications to the things it can do." He went on to say, "While it presents itself as a web interface to most people, Google could just as well present itself as a programmable interface." In another interview with CNET News, Cerf expanded on this idea, suggesting that a consumer could "order that bottle of champagne that James Bond is now opening" by running a mouse over the screen on which the customer is watching the Bond movie. Heady stuff.

For months, there have been rumors about what Google is now working on. The Search Engine Journal said yesterday that, "Google has become the world's largest media company and advertising vehicle." The Journal speculated that Google is working on "the creation of a global data transfer network that could effectively serve as a private Internet."

Keep an eye on Google.

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