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The Future of Google

I just had an epiphany. No, not an epileptic seizure. And, I am not talking about the religious festival called by the same name or a vision. No, I am talking about a sudden intuition [why didn’t you just say so?] about Google and its future.

I have been busy taking a University of Ottawa degree for the past 8 months [yeah, explains lots of things about the freshness of the site, right?] and almost every project and presentation I did included a Google product in one form or another: Google Earth, Google Street View, Blogger, Google Docs, etc. I just don’t know what I would have done without Google! I am about to graduate, so thank you, Google!

What’s the intuition? That Google is about to be in every nook and cranny of our lives.

See, I was reading this article about MondoWindow, a site that allows you to view the scene below as you fly above. Simply log in to MondoWindow from the air, type in your flight number and airline, and you’ll get all the info you’d ever want about where you are, a zoomable satellite image of the terrain below you, links to items of interest on the ground, etc. Sounds wonderful for anyone bored and with an iPad (or laptop). [Not as sure about Apple though. I used an Acer netbook that cost me only CAD $230 and it was fine.]

But that’s when the epiphany struck: you can do something similar now on Google Earth and Street View, or Google could so easily retool its products to allow you to do so. Input your starting point and destination and launch Google Earth to simulate traveling from point A to B. Choose the altitude, speed of travel, and watch it happen on your screen. See something interesting down below? Zoom in and, if desired, go right down to Street View level, slow down the speed and explore the town, ruins, volcano, whatever to your heart’s content. Then with the flick of a finger, resume your flight path. If your device is GPS-enabled, Google GPS should easily be able to track your current position.

Now imagine if Google is allowed to tap into every camera along the way. Street View is suddenly live!

Google Street View is not only for outdoors use. I found that out when I was researching art resources and stumbled upon Google Art Project. Here, you can virtually explore some of the greatest museums of the world and view great works of art using the Google Street View technology.

Now imagine this technology used in a real or virtual supermarket or mall. The potential use is limitless and forebodes the future, hopefully a good one. How do you compete with Walmart? Build a virtual store that is even bigger, has more choices and, because it does not occupy any physical locations, is 100% self-served, has no waiting lines, never runs out of your favorite items, and sources with its suppliers electronically, can offer even lower prices. Google Mall, anyone? They don’t have to run it, just provide the technology and sell virtual space in it.

Got to run, got an exam to prepare for. But, do you see what I am getting at? I have a suspicion that Google wants to be in everything we will ever need to do, see or use. And if they do it right, and do no evil, they just might be.