24 February 2008

Google Central (part 1)

Update: Grand Central has become Google Voice


I feel that I'm turning into some sort of Google-watcher these days or have been a Google junkie without realizing it.

A couple of days ago I found an entertaining video on YouTube (how apropos) of interesting sites and places to visit in Google Earth. I recently posted about new Google search functionality and presentation options. Before that it was a brief look at Google's Android mobile phone platform. Last year I was - and will soon be again - looking at Google Trends as a potential prediction tool for the American Idol contest winner.

This is sort of interesting as it brings a set of old school (Groups - Usenet, Scholar - refereed journals, and Glossary - reference sources) content together with new school (YouTube, Blogger, Google News commentary) together in a jumble of seemingly disparate audiences through Google-branded channels. It clearly extends new school functionality (Web 2.0) into old school mediums (proto-web and Web 1.0) while trying to preserve or normalize the presentation, experience and general consumption of content and services. Through this normalization process, Google is able to preserve/build brand recognition (Google TM) Grand Central, "a production of Google." Their info page asks and answers: "What is GrandCentral? Get all the same calls, but in a whole new way." That's all fine and dandy; it's nothing you can't get from existing, consumer VoIP providers. Their feature set is pretty comprehensive which conceptually place it as a virtual voice communication firewall in some regards.

That's kind of cool but it doesn't seem like a Googlesque sort of venture. Until you add other Google services. Now you have an interesting stack supplying different, but converging on, fully integrated services:

This is only a partial analysis (and none too in-depth, by any means) and doesn't take into account relevant issues, such as Google's wireless 700 MHz spectrum bid, which help with the convergence understanding and visualization. I'll post again as it's sort of fun to be an armchair Google strategist.

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