Enter Google. Once just a search engine, it is now sprouting up extensions like Jack’s bean stalk on steroids. These extensions are what’s making Google so irreplaceable for many people who want the one stop shop. Google is fast becoming the Wal-Mart of the Internet. And it’s for that reason that some people are starting to fear the company.
Editor’s Note: This list was written in June 2008, therefore Chrome and Buzz are not included.
10. Google Video
When most people think of looking for videos, YouTube is the automatic choice. However, Google has gone a step beyond YouTube. Not only does a Video search yield all of the YouTube results and play them in the Google window, but the search engine also searches the entire web for your content. While Google Video may not feature categories like YouTube, when you can search the entire web, who cares?
9. Google Maps & Google Earth
A few years ago, Google created an application called Google Earth that would let a person input an address and the application would give them the most recent satellite images of that area. Another nifty feature was the ability to plot a course between multiple locations similar to Mapquest.com. Now Google Maps has taken on Mapquest and many other map making companies. However, Google Maps has gone beyond the simple map adding in the flexibility of a Yellow Pages with displayed directions to the pizza parlor or local electronics store.
8. Google Books & Google Scholar
Libraries across the world are wondering what they will do with all the books they house once Google is done. Years ago, Google Books announced that it would try to make every page of every book available and searchable online. They are still working on that one due to copyright laws; however, they have now made searchable many scholarly articles. The library may still be the place to complete most of your research, but maybe not for long.
7. Google News
Who wouldn’t like a searchable database of recent articles on any topic imaginable? Perhaps the media companies who want to be the sole source for your news gathering. Though having that searchable source of news might mean a more balanced view of the news, when someone gets thousands or millions of hits, how do they choose what is the best news source for them?
6. Google Shopping
Retailers everywhere are cringing over the fact that their prices are being compared to other retailers with one simple click. The Google Shopping feature searches Web sites for whatever you want and gives you only what you want or more than you can handle when you are not specific. eBay and Paypal beware – Google Checkout is coming. You will soon be able to do all of your shopping through Google as well.
Similar to Yahoo, Google has branched out by giving the search engine a customizable homepage with multiple features such as news feeds, weather, horoscopes and others. A one-stop shop has a tendency to leave out all the small details that some people crave; and it seems like iGoogle could be just the icing rather than the whole cake when it comes to the details.
Again like Yahoo and even Microsoft, Google has created an online e-mail system. While millions of people have been using online e-mail for the last decade, this is just one more step for the Big G in making it the first and only destination on the Web.
3. Google Docs
Google is not satisfied just going after Yahoo, Mapquest, libraries and retailers. Microsoft and all the other word processing software companies beware. Now with a G-mail account, you can create documents such as invoices, letters, calendars and many more. Or how about a PowerPoint like presentation? The possibilities seem endless and your documents can be accessed by yourself and anyone else you allow online. Who needs Word anyways?
2. Frankenstein Internet
What Google has not created itself, it has started to wrap under its envelope. YouTube and Blogger are just two examples of other sites that have joined forces with the G Empire to create a monster. And if Google can’t find a suitable partner, then it has started to build its own version of popular sites such as an IM system (Google Talk), a social networking site like Facebook (Orkut) and other features. With pieces and parts from here, there and everywhere, one has to wonder if Google isn’t going to fall in the same trap as Microsoft – being too large and diverse to get one thing right.
The main thing that Google is known as is, of course, a search engine. And that is one thing they have done correctly though many people question the validity of the search optimization methods used by the company. That said when most people want information where do they go? Google, of course. The name is so synonymous with search engines that is has been added to the dictionary as a known for searching on the Internet. If that’s not scary enough for you, perhaps you should Google scary see what you think is scarier.
Google Knol – The Wikipedia killer. Watch out, Wikipedia.