Monday, December 31, 2007

What will Google do in 2008??

After the fast paced developments in 2007 for the online search arena a lot of people are wondering what Google will be looking to achieve in 2008 to keep the momentum up. I was reading a post on the 'Google Operating System' which is an unofficial blog and has been going now for a few years giving some great opinions on the search giant.

They posted a great blog on their thoughts of what will Google do it 2008. And I thought I would throw up a quick post as their are alot of interesting views and scenarios within the 15 or so areas they think Google will develop in 2008. And as we are 1 day away from 2008 the timing seemed right.

As they say "Some of these items are obvious, others are mostly wishful thinking." but all in all I think they make for some interesting reading:-

1. Google will try to unify its application and transform them into a big social network. The Maka-Maka project (or Google's activity stream) will enhance the already existing profiles. If Google doesn't understand that your Gmail contacts aren't necessarily your friends, we'll see a huge privacy backslash.

2. Google should finally go beyond indexing text and start to use image analysis and speech recognition in Google Image Search and Google Video. The NevenVision acquisition should produce visible results in the image search engine and we could see better results for famous people or the option to find similar images.

3. Google won't give up on universal search, but we'll see a different interface that separates standard search results from OneBoxes and other additions. Google's snippets will become smarter and they could include information about authors, locations, concepts.

4. Gmail will add another batch of new features, one of the most important being task management, and will finally go out of beta. Gmail will launch a Google Labs-like site with experimental features that could be added by those who are curious to see the next features before they are officially launched.

5. The first Android phones will be a disappointment, but developers will create a lot of interesting applications that could compensate for the poor designs.

6. Most Google applications will work offline using Google Gears, even if the functionality will be limited. Google Gears will also work on mobile phones and could become a part of Firefox.

7. Google Maps will be redesigned and could include more space for user-generated content. We'll start to see user's locations, important events from our area, recommendations from friends. Google Maps will become more personal.

8. OpenSocial won't work as well as expected and Google will focus on its own social network(s). iGoogle gadgets are about to become social and aggregate data from your contacts.

9. Google will launch a people search engine that gathers data from the web, especially from social networks.

10. Google Books will be more present in search results and Google will start to sell access to the full content of some of the books.

11. One word: sync. At the end of the year, Outlook and most mobile phones will be able to synchronize with Google Calendar and Gmail's contacts. Google Docs will have plug-ins that let you edit documents in Microsoft Office or OpenOffice and save the changes online. Google Toolbar will integrate Browser Sync and start to synchronize your bookmarks, cookies, passwords and your browser's history.

12. Multi-faceted search, searching from different points of view (objective information vs positive/negative opinions, official information vs comments from blogs, forums).

13. Google will differentiate commercial search results by integrating data from Google Base. Google will continue to try to promote Checkout, this time by showing small badges next to the search results from sites that accept Google Checkout.

14. Google Talk will move completely online: the embeddable gadget will let you create custom chat rooms, talk with other people and maybe even see them if they have webcams.

15. Picasa Web Albums will add some of the photo editing features from Picasa and will increase the free storage.

16. GDrive will finally launch, but it won't offer infinite storage or advanced features. It will let you access the files stored in different Google applications and upload new files from a single interface. Storage: 20 GB.

Friday, December 07, 2007

'touchEarth' - Google Earth Via Multitouch

We have all probably seen the facility on the likes of the iPhone to manipulate Google maps via touch and the ability to 'Pinch' in and out. The Youtube video below I just came across that has been uploaded today shows how much more you can manipulate this. The demo of 'touchEarth' application shows how you can control Google Earth via multitouch gestures on a much larger scale.

It really is getting to the stages of the film Minority Reports a few years ago and for me starts to show how the Internet can start to move towards an integrated media centre option in the house bringing Internet and the likes of TV closer together. Microsoft have also been looking at these options as well with their 'Surface' table technology for a while now.