TAKE A DEEP BREATH
Well, the recently announced Google Base Godzilla has surveyed the landscape and decided to take it's first step...in the direction of local retail advertising (via The New York Times)...aka Yellow Pages online. As this AP story explains it coolheadedly:
"The feature, to be unveiled Tuesday at Google's Froogle shopping site, will pinpoint the merchants selling a specific item within a designated ZIP code. Besides displaying a map showing all the local stores carrying the merchandise, Froogle also will list price differences.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based company developed the free tool to help consumers avoid the frustration of traveling to a store that no longer has an item on their shopping lists, said Marissa Mayer, Google's director of consumer products.
Froogle, a comparison shopping site that Google launched three years ago, will continue to give visitors the option to buy the merchandise online. Google receives a commission for the online referrals.
Initially, Google is depending on a contractor to pull the inventory information from several hundred major merchants. The search engine hopes to make the service even comprehensive by encouraging stores to submit their own customized merchandises list to the newly created "Google Base" — an information clearinghouse for everything from family recipes to scientific formulas.
Froogle will pull the product inventory lists from Google Base and include them in its index, Mayer said."
There's a lot of breathless posts already on it this morning, extrapolating Google's upcoming actions into the stratosphere and/or just repeating statements made by Google's representatives in their own words.
My favorite post outlining this is by Michael Arrington at CrunchNotes titled "Total Nonsense":
"Later in the article John marches in Marshal Cohen from the NPD Group, someone else who’s apparently never looked at Google Base:
Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst at NPD Group, a market research firm in Port Washington, N.Y., said that if Froogle delivered up-to the-minute inventory updates from retailers, “consumers will finally know whether a trip to a store is worthwhile.”
“The only thing missing from the online retailing equation is ‘Do they have what I want,’ ” Mr. Cohen said. “But putting inventory on the Web, by store location, means now all of a sudden I have that final piece of the puzzle.”
Yep, I guess they finally found that final piece of the puzzle to fix Froogle."
We geeks and early adopters need to keep our perspective when we see new and potentially exciting announcements by tech companies we admire.
This past weekend and week in particular has had a couple of other potentially exciting and world changing announcements, interestingly all from Microsoft. Both have gotten a lot of people AND me jazzed (via Memeorandum):
- Microsoft Opens Office File Formats (via eWEEK).
- Microsoft announces extension to RSS called Simple Sharing Extensions-SSE (via Ray Ozzie).
In some ways, these two announcements potentially have a lot to contribute to the success of the Google Base/Froogle announcement, along with a ton of open-ended applications in a wide-range of consumer and enterprise applications (more on this in a future post as more details are clearer).
Fred Wilson has a good post titled "The second coming of RSS", which explains some of the implications of the SSE announcement.
And I'm still trying to figure out if the Microsoft Open Office format announcement is more defensive than offensive, partly timed and presented to assuage pressure from the European Community to "open" up Microsoft products (good story in the FT here explaining this here).
But it all remains to be seen, and most commentary to date is speculative at best based on what we know at and in the moment.
Everything here is just a first step, needs a heck of a lot of things to happen before they're anywhere near being a success, not to mention extraordinary cooperation, coordination and EXECUTION before they're anywhere close to being real.
And then it all has to survive in the furnace of inter and intra company and industry market and political competition globally. That's a sixteen-dimension matrix right there.
In the meantime, take a deep breath, and remember this is but one move in a multi-dimensional chess game played by innumerable companies small and large.
It would task even Mr. Spock who only mastered Tri-dimensional Chess (by the way, you can buy one of those chess sets here eBay if so inclined).
It's useful to keep in mind that the many of the seeds for what we now all celebrate as Ajax, the programming glue technologies that are help power some of the so-called Web 2.0 bandwagon, were planted by Microsoft and other companies over half a decade ago in the Web 1.0 days.
It's going to be important to balance our natural excitement with a healthy perspective on how long most of it'll take to be real.
But it's an extraordinarily fertile time for technology in every industry imaginable.