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 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?