A History of the Google Office
August 28, 2006
In describing Google Apps for Your Domain as "Google Office", I was somewhat deliberately making reference to all the conversations that have happened in the past around Google doing an office suite or even an entire operating systems. Here, then, are some selected posts on the subject in the past.
- Upon the Demise of Netscape. I wrote this back in 2003, when it wasn't yet clear that Firefox (then Firebird) would emerge as a serious player in the browser space. I'm proud of the post, but mostly because it inspired a terrific comment by Simon Willison:
What a fantastic idea. If Google created a branded version of Firebird (with a few usability and stability tweaks) and made it available through google.com, promoting it in the same way they have been promoting their toolbar, I am sure it would be a sure-fire hit. It's simply a better browser than IE, and while most internet users have probably never even considered trying a different browser Google have the kind of brand recognition and trustworthy image that could convince people to try something new - it worked with the Google toolbar after all.
Imagine the effect this kind of development would have on the browser industry. IE would suddenly have a viable competitor! Web sites would be encouraged to support standards, Microsoft would practically be forced to start developing IE again, and the internet would start moving forward again.
- John Rhodes' seminal article on Google 2.0 from September of 2001, which envisions a Google Client and predated common usage of the "Web 2.0" moniker by years. For perspective, when this piece was written, there was no AdSense, no AdWords, no Gmail, Google hadn't bought Blogger, and Mozilla hadn't yet birthed
- Jason Kottke's GooOS, the Google Operating System from April 2004, written in the wake of the launch of Gmail.
Google Office (Goffice?) will be built in, with all your data stored locally, backed up remotely, and available to whomever it needs to be (SubEthaEdit-style collaboration on Word/Excel/PowerPoint-esque documents is only the beginning). Email, shopping, games, music, news, personal publishing, etc.; all the stuff that people use their computers for, it's all there.
There's lots of good thinking here, and of course it makes sense to finish by pointing out So Much Fanfare, So Few Hits, BusinessWeek's look at how Google doesn't dominate many areas it enters.