What’s Google playing at?

This is a guest post form David Fullbrook, aspiring webtrepreneur, Snagsta flagwaver and all round good egg. This is a summary of a recent exchange of emails I had with him over the past week about what he thinks the Big G might be up to…

google can't satisfy every search

Since November, Google has taken three important steps releasing Android, Gears and, on 2 September, Chrome.

Android is Linux cut-and-pasted to operate mobile devices, like phones.

Gears is a piece of software letting online utilities, like Google Docs, work offline.

Chrome is Google’s way of helping people kick around the wonderfully wide web.

Android puts Google on mobile phones, probably the most ubiquitous computers on the planet. Chrome puts Google into the arena of perhaps the most widely used software today, the internet browser.

But why stop there? If the pace since November is anything to go by, during the next year or so Google is going to be releasing more products. Android suggests Google could be working on Google Linux for desktops – Ginux? Cyborg?

Google Linux, to really hit home, must be really easy to use, still a sticking point for most Linux distributions. Few if any pass the ‘mum test’ (if your mum can use it, anybody can).

Linux users are often ignored by major software developers. iTunes for Linux? Keep dreaming. But Google is making most of its products available for Linux. Okay, so most major types of software are available in one shape or another, usually for free. But compatibility is still an issue, even for the latest versions of OpenOffice/StarOffice; and the music players are still not quite up there with iTunes.

This is another space Google could enter. Google has all it needs – Chrome, Checkout, Froogle, V8 Java, Search – to build a great music player, one that easily syncs with Androids, Cyborgs and Windows.

Easy Linux and a powerful music player could break Microsoft’s monopoly on the operating system market, creating hundreds of millions more outlets for Google’s ads and potentially customers for its services. It might even put a bruise on Apple.

There also looks like a gap for Google to fill in personal information management. Google does email and calendars, perhaps mix in Chrome, V8 Java and Search, and something interesting could happen.

Would Google spend its cash to build V8 Java just to run a browser?

Or perhaps V8 Java is a sign of other things to come. Google has the resources, perhaps the intellectual curiosity, and probably the needs to develop an entirely new operating system, one which is lightweight, robust and open, and which passes the ‘mum test’.

More software and services pushes Google closer to Apple and Microsoft, both of which build hardware.

New products and perhaps those to come are taking Google to places where it hasn’t been before. Google may be the first to provide seamless integration, connectivity and availability of information and the experiences it generates across multiple platforms anywhere.

Which might mean that no matter what people do on a computer they will see ads from Google. The boundaries of search are being pushed further and further into our lives.

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