Thursday, September 30, 2004

Frankly, I think Google is all about aggregation

I've been following a lot of the conversation about Google as platform which has associated conversations about the Google browser. I agree that it would be a powerful application. But that's not what I really want.

I want Google to aggregate me.

When I go to my Blogger user profile, I see:
  • some social networking-like qualities. I can click on "Nonprofits" and see other blogger profiles with an industry of nonprofit. I can find Blogger bloggers who like Cal Tjader or the movie Adventures in Babysitting; and,
  • my blog posts are integrated. I have two blogs -- they are separate, have separate purposes, designs. They are even hosted separately. The only real commonality is I maintain them and use Blogger to do so.
I also use Gmail. What if I could tag something, an email I send to a listserv let's say, as public? And what if that then appears on my profile page?

And how about photos? Well, if I use Picasa, maybe I can just check a box. On my profile page.

Google Groups? My contributions show up. Automatically. Profile page.

Alerts? Searches? You got it.

The value to me is, sure, that I have a tool or a tightly woven suite of tools. A Google Operating System, if you well.

Frankly, even though it might be a better operating system than my current choice, a bigger operating system, let's face it: My current choice is one of 3 good choices and I'm okay with it.

What I don't have is an easy method of developing and maintaining my identity. Right now, it's a lot of work. I post a comment on someone's blog, send an email, post a listserv, share a photo and don't have single place that integrates those various activities -- in a way that provides them each with a context -- so that I can use it however I might use that identity.

Web Services and open APIs could push this even further so that my TechSoup.org posts, my omidyar network self, my Amazon reviews, my Netflix queue all become a part, evidence, of who I am in the world. On the Internet.

And what does this have to do with nonprofits? I'm not sure yet. What are your ideas?