Hackers have been quite busy lately, and have apparently hacked into Google's marketing plans for their upcoming GoogleOS.
Since the plan is already flying around the web, this author has decided to republish it on April First, 2006, as no further harm can now be done.
Feel free to republish this document, without royalty, but you must include the author's email address at page....@gmail.com.
Company Confidential : GoogleOS Marketing Strategy
Goggle needs to keep moving forward if it is to be successful in the long term, and GoogleOS has been identified as one of these strategic directions.
GoogleOS can be thought of as a number of strategic components each synergistic leveraging from each others strengths.
Whereas the name might conjure up just an operating system in the minds of a Software Engineer, this is but one such component of our complete strategy to wrench the desktop from the evil jaws of our nemesis, Microsoft.
The thin desktop client, the GoogleClient
The corporate server, the GoogleServer
The maintenance subscription, the GoogleSubscription
The preferred customer “Top Listing Service”, the GoogleTopListingService.
To speed along your corporate GoogleConversion, Goggle will bundle a “Top Listing Service” in with your purchase. This service will make sure your products are listed on the Top Ten for any given keyword search. Just imagine what that will do for sales! Can any other desktop company offer you that? Certainly not Microsoft.
1. Microsoft's strengths and weaknesses
Microsoft is certainly a worthy competitor, but they've gotten big and therefore, unwieldy at times. Companies do have life cycles; they are born, they grow into maturity, live for a while, and then enter old age and finally die. Microsoft now behaves as if it is entering old age, as many of it's new ideas are limited by diminishing returns and are simply retreads of older technologies.
Even they have noticed this and have begun replacing key engineering management team members with those with marketing background.
New markets, such as China, are resistant to Microsoft's penetration, and are choosing competitors, such as Linux based desk top system.
Traditional markets, such as Europe, are also making it more difficult for Microsoft to 'lock in' their customer base by requiring open source style specifications, for such things as communications, and document formats.
Microsoft's achilles heel is, of course, security. They never did get it right, nor will they ever. Just how many 'patches' do you have to download per WEEK to keep your system free of vermin? The average life expectancy of a newly installed box is about 20 minutes on the Internet. You can't even put it up long enough to download gigabytes and gigabytes of patches to make the thing secure.
2. Google's strengths and weaknesses
Enter Google. We are a young company, we are lean and mean, and, we are flush with cash. Computers are becoming commodities, and the large margin sales have long since moved to the Pacific Rim. Likewise, operating systems, ie, the tool that displays data, are moving into this same arena. FreeBSD and Linux are two notable examples. THEREFORE, THAT LEAVES THE DATA!
Data, IS the key to any business anyway.
And, data storage and retrieval are Google's core technology. Google beats Microsoft hand's down. Period, no questions asked.
And Google has done well in emerging markets, such as China. China has chosen Google as one of it's key information providers. It didn't hurt that Google 'gently modifies' it's search engine results, to suit Chinese tastes.
Many in the West make a 'big stink' over it, but Google can do a lot more for it's clients than this. Just think about it; Google can not only modify search results, it can literally re-write your history. How many times have you wanted this feature, and just couldn't do it.
Well, now you can.
Furthermore, once Google completes its conversion of all old fashioned 'books' to the more modern format, we can start charging for access. Additionally, this is seen as the ultimate 'customer lock in' feature for our products.
Imagine a customer trying to move away from Google. We've got their supplier lists. We've got their customer lists. We've got their entire business on-line, and fully under Google-Control.
It's the Chuck Colsen school of management. If you've got a man by the (deleted), you can lead him anywhere.
Strategic Component Development
So as not to attract attention to itself, Google has quietly spirited away key resources from competitors in such areas as technical development, marketing, and sales. Due to it's rich and lucrative public stock sale, Google is flooded with cash to leverage these acquisitions. In short, we can make people offers they can't refuse.
Additionally, Google has found there are plenty of people out there that have, in their past, been destroyed by Microsoft, and see the Google offer as a way to get even. Comments such as “those dirty rats will get what's coming to them” are not uncommon.
Google has had no trouble recruiting a top staff moving forward.
Since it's a thin client, and we want to encourage penetration, $400 will get you the hardware and full software.
To encourage conversion, Google will offer a pure software kit for $100 that will run on any desk top pc. Additionally, software tools that will convert any Microsoft file ONE-WAY to a Google file will be included. ONE-WAY means, ha, ha, that once you make the conversion to Google data formats, the tool won't let you un-Google-ize your data.
This includes EVERYTING you need to run, including a word processor, mail, a spread sheet, virus filter, meeting planner, etc.
Key Deadlines Timeframe
Launch Year: Christmas 2007
Corporate Resistance and the “Buy Decision”
Google wants your company to 'GET TO YES' to buy Google products.
Here's why you should:
Google's thin-client will reduce your end-user IT costs by 90% percent. No longer will each user have to buy an expensive license to use a software bundle. No longer will these users waste hours and hours of corporate time fiddling with their pc's to install patches, or a later version of the software.
The thin-client architecture means that your ID admin can just update and patch tools ONCE, on the Google-Server, and all users can instantly take advantage of this. Additionally, Google will offer a direct-Google-link from your Google server so that these patches can be installed automatically by Google-Corporate.
And, don't worry about backups. Google can also link up to your Google-Servers nightly and preform this tedious, expensive, and error prone task automatically.
Finally, Google-Minder can be enabled for each client. Got too may of your employees 'surfing the web'? No problem with Google-Minder. Our state-of-the-art software will detect this and send the employee a gentle reminder to 'cut it out', or face the consequences, like being fired.
The Google Name
Google is the leader in Data Information Management.
Multi-Vendor Hardware Support
Google hardware is based on multi-vendor platform support. Thus, you are assured that product will always be available.
Google will open source all it's software. Open source has pruven itself to contain vastly less bugs than any closed source implementations.
Leveraging in from corporate Internet
Google is already running on your corporate Internet. It's just a logical extension of what you have today.
Data Management, Privacy, Propaganda, and Thought Control
Here, Google excels. Is there any doubt?
Estimated Market Penetration Per Year
Google estimates 35% market penetration the first year, with an additional 30% per year for the next two years.
GoogleOS is expected to sell itself at various retail outlets. Additionally, Google will offer GoogleOS over the web from corporate sales, as well as through the usual web resellers.
Since the product will literally sell itself, no direct sales force (read expensive) will be required.
As well, each GoogleServer is capable of searching out additional sales opportunities within each company, and relaying this information back to the GoogleImperium (corporate). If for example, a GoogleServer begins to reach processor or disk saturation, it will generate a 'Sales Recommendation', complete with on-line order form and sales lead.
Additionally, GoogleServers installed with a corporate division will recognize that other corporate divisions are making on-line requests that did not originate from another GoogleServer. This again, will lead to on-line 'Sales Recommendations' to the client, on-line order forms, and sales leads.
At first, this channel might seem to be a form of corporate spying, but we here at Google feel this is just another way for us to be of service to our clients. After all, corporations have been out-sourcing IT support for years, and at least with Google, we'll offer to do it for free.
Google is perusing a stealth strategy toward product development, based on the component approach. Basically, we develop a component, say GMAIL, and test it on the web. This helps us 'get the bugs out' and fully learn the technology.
The Google server is already out there, and is doing well on it's on as a search engine assist. It's a simple matter to add server software in support of the thin clients to this existing base.
Word processing, spread sheet, and others are just a few of the other components being currently tested.
Once each component is fully tested, it will be integrated into the Google-Desk-Top and bundled for sales. We are about 80% there, and expect to complete the rest over the next 6 months.
For the various 'geeks' we've got wandering around, here is a look at the Google-Desk-Top technology:
Processor Selection / Endian Issues
Google, first and foremost, is a Little-Endian company, and takes the approach that any Big-Endian types should be taken out and shot. Therefore, we'll probably run a power pc or arm-9 in Little-Endian for any new hardware produced.
Both Linux and BSD offer tempting targets as a base for the GoogleOS, however, both have unresolved issues. For example, Linux seems to change at a whim of some geek academic types. These changes cause turmoil in the technical community and would be catastrophic to the business community. Further, Linux never did settle how proprietary software can co-exist, license-wise within the system. They have his hack, called a 'loadable-module' that, although never tested in courts, lets proprietary users 'slide-in'. This is hardly what Google wants to base its future on.
Therefore, GoogleOS will be a clean room implemented kernel. Any stacks or other software needed will be licensed by Google.
Google is well positioned to 'take over' the desk-top mantel from Microsoft. All we need is a little push, and a good solid green light from the Google Imperium (corporate).
Written by Ebrahim Ezzy and edited by Richard MacManus. Ebrahim runs a search engine called Qube - which is a webified desktop app. Richard's Note: In some ways Ebrahim's conclusions in this article contradict my own views, but I think that makes it even more appropriate for Read/WriteWeb to publish. I'm looking forward to a robust discussion by readers in the comments section!
More and more applications these days are being webified - meaning "made to operate on the Web using a browser or made to function in a similar manner." This is because the Internet is capable of significantly augmenting human interaction, with its decentralized system of ubiquitous data accessibility.
WebOS, the remote desktop We've already seen a wealth of desktop-replicated web applications in the web 2.0 space - office suites, calenders, task management. A webtop (derived from 'desktop') pushes that replication to its limit. Also known as a WebOS, it is basically a virtual desktop on the web. It is a simple, less bloated, less featured and remotely accessible operating environment that runs in a browser. It delivers a rich desktop-like experience, coupled with various built-in applications.
Popularized (in the Web 2.0 era) by Goowy among others, these products typically feature wallpapers, windows, toolbars, folders, work & entertainment tools, abilities like drag and drop - and other pseudo-useful features that have been available on desktops forever.
The concept is expected to appeal those who require seamless connectivity, even on-the-go. Common uses include file-sharing, a communication tool for families and small workgroups, office tasks (private word documents, calendar and agenda), Entertainment (Games, Chat, Music), as an FTP alternative, etc. Richard has been writing about WebOS companies for a while on ZDNet - and his recent post about EyeOS shows how WebOS products are being used by people.
Startups in this space
Goowy provides email (2GB), messenger, calendar, address book, News/RSS manager, file sharing & storage (1GB), games, and widgets (which they call mini). Developed mostly in Flash, Goowy also offers hosted version with added functionalities, for businesses. [Ed: Ryan Stewart wrote a great overview of Goowy on Read/WriteWeb in March]
DesktopTwo (also available in Spanish) provides email, address book, file storage and sharing (1GB), IM, blog, music player and a website editor in a nicely organized user-interface. It requires Flash, Acrobat Reader, and popup windows to function correctly. It's a nice name (DesktopTwo = Desktop 2.0, I guess) and my personal favorite.
Glide Effortless is a web-suite that handles media files - documents, photos, audio, and video - and also provides a handy word processor and calendar.
XIN is still in beta, but is evolving into a full-featured WebOS. In Richard's original review of XIN, he noted that XIN aims to be an entirely Web-based OS and as such is a full development platform.
YouOS has perhaps the most recognition of all the WebOS products - and high ideals too. The YouOS developers describe their product as "a liberation of software from hardware". According to Richard's article, YouOS wants the OS to be no longer a user's primary concern - it's your data and your apps that you only need to concern yourself with.
EyeOS (Open-Source) was developed in Spain and currently boasts 53,500 users in the main public server. In addition there are around 400 active servers installed by users. More in Richard's review.
Great Idea, Questionable Value The Internet has changed how we access and use information. With a computer and a high-speed connection, no matter where you are, your world travels with you. Of course, while that might sound eminently desirable - the reality is sometimes not as romantic.
WebOS is a great idea, but in my opinion it has questionable value. It can be fun, exciting, entertaining and even convenient for some - but being as efficient, flexible and productive as a desktop is practically impossible. The majority of these applications are almost essentially superfluous, emphasizing novelty over substance.
Downsides of a WebOS Works at the mercy of the network and the server load. While the many enabling capabilities of network-based storage architectures are of substantial value - issues of authentication, access control, and security/privacy of the stored data remain. Are you going to let someone else handle your data? Would you trust a startup to protect your critical data? [Ed: for an interesting side argument, see this discussion of IBM's SoulPad from a year ago] The privacy, control, reliability and performance issues prevent the WebOS from being an alternative to the ever-more-affordable and easy-to-use desktop. WebOS requires a fast and reliable (if not flawless) connection to work correctly. Inability to operate peripheral devices. Web applications rely on open source infrastructure and an array of technologies and formats - and these are constantly changing, often with no regard for being backwards compatible. As Fred Oliveira of WeBreakStuff nicely put it:
"...after service outsourcing and personal outsourcing, we’re seeing a new age of web-service outsourcing. One with no regulations - only expectations and hopes. Everything is based on trust, and trust sometimes fails.
And the problem here is that even with web-services as a liability, there’s no fallback mechanism, no alternative route, and no “competitor service” that can be plugged into an app in the timely manner like web 2.0 applications require.
This proves that purely mash-up based applications have small foundations, and like a house with no foundations, they may fail to resist, should the unexpected happen." (bold emphasis mine)
I should note that without a leap of faith, no idea or innovation can get off the ground. However, several other factors make web applications like WebOS less secure, less productive and unreliable.
Improve the desktop instead I rely on various web applications to create documents, presentations, spreadsheets; share images, videos, data; manage and organize tasks, projects and life. But I still believe the future of computing isn't entirely web-based. It's necessary to have the desktop as the pivotal point, because the power of the desktop is important for a rich user experience - and will be, for a very long time to come.
What we require then are smart, webified, internet deployable desktop applications - that can reliably store data, serve it robustly, and interact with both remote and local databases. This connected model will ensure that applications will function in both online and offline states - for a seamless, uninterrupted experience.
Companies that are vying to be the prime desktop development platform include Microsoft, Adobe and (increasingly) Google. Ryan Stewart has a good post summarizing the main desktop platforms. See also Techworld.com on Windows Vista and virtualisation.
Webified Desktop Applications
There are many examples of desktop applications that benefit from the connectivity and mobility of web-based data:
Windows Live Writer provides a powerful replacement for web-based blogging. Word 2007 will also allow blogging from Open API. Utilizing the power of desktop and a remotely hosted environment, SecondLife provides a unique type of gameplay that would be impossible on the desktop alone. The NYTimes Reader "enhances the on-screen reading experience" by providing functionalities in a desktop application that weren't achievable through a web-based interface (see also the R/WW review). iTunes integrates with its online music store and generates an impressive revenue stream. Using Excel 2007, a spreadsheet author will be able to save their spreadsheet to a SharePoint (Microsoft's web-based collaboration tool) document library and give other users browser-based access to the server-calculated version of that spreadsheet. Other examples include Webaroo (offline search), PicasaWeb (Desktop Photo organizer and uploader), Omnidrive (data storage), Omniscope (data filtering and manipulation), Qube (browserless, desktop search), TouchStone (information management - private alpha) etc.
As the Web becomes increasingly interconnected and applications continue to blur the distinction between the desktop and web, we should expect to see more applications that allow Web/desktop synchronization. This will happen due to the increasing development of web services that enable apps to work equally well across web and desktop clients.
Summary I will continue to use WebOS and other web-based productivity applications, just to appease the Web 2.0 spirit within me. But the fact remains that Webified (or "connected") desktop applications are noticeably superior, offering almost all the benefits of web applications without any limitations. Indeed, I think the two environments are not even directly comparable.
However, in the end desktop and web are just small outposts in a much larger world of information creation, collaboration, distribution, management, and presentation. What ultimately matters is productivity, scalability and speed.
If (and it's a big 'if') the web will render the desktop obsolete someday, then I'll be more inclined to accept the new norm of web apps and services.
UPDATE: We've published a poll, for you to tell us which type of app you prefer - desktop or browser-based.