Tuesday, January 22, 2008

2007-8 Spring Course: Googleware as Active Media (Afeka)

In the Spring semseter, 2008 I will teach for the first time an experimental course called "GoogleWare" -- it is aimed at advanced students who are into looking at the phenomenon that is changing the nature of our lives.

The focus of this course would be the in-depth understanding of the Google phenomenon. I came across Google about two years ago via search (like most people). Yet during my work in the last year, as I was investigating long-term Media/IT trends, I have learned about the "true" nature of the phenomenon and why Google market capital is almost as big as IBM (!).

While most people see Google as a search service, in fact, Google has more then 60 services including email, picture sharing, blog, Wiki, office, desktop search, I-Google, social network, video, etc. Furthermore, all services are closely and seemingly integrated to create an inescapable web (e.g., you manage your blog pictures with the picture service; you can view word files from email docs & spreadsheets). Once a service has captured you – you are slowly and surely tempted to get more services. Each service you use, adds another layer of comfort and value.

Many people think Google is search; some think it is an operating system – I maintain that Google is defining a new kind of Media. A medium that is in fact already changing the way we work, play, and engage.

Google is not only replacing services; it is doing it with grace and elegance. Google products are simply better, faster, and stronger than the competitor's. Gmail program is unique in terms of search, filing, and anti-spam. Further more, Gmail allow you to read documents, and spreadsheet on-line on any device (including my Nokia e-61) with no further software. Google is teaching the world how to work more effectively. They even changed how we view advertisement – no longer annoying but informative and educational.

Furthermore, Google has the fastest innovation cycle in the industry. Google is not afraid to close services that do not work (i.e., Google Answers); buy competitors (double-click, you-tube) – and incorporate them into the Google web quickly; hire the best people around. With zero legacy, no need to worry about multiple platforms (all is web) – they are moving faster and faster.

The latest shift into the enterprise market is an example. With $50 a year per user, a Small Medium Business (SMB) can run its entire IT in Google – more effectively. Google is yet to prove itself in the different-then-consumer corporate market. But my encounter with Google 800-help-line show they are in the right direction.