I recently listened to a Supernova podcast which interviewed Bradley Horowitz, the head of Google Apps among other things. Bradley discussed the basics of Google Apps but also the mission and vision for the product. The take away for me was that Google is moving from organizing the worlds public information (Google.com, etc) to also attempting to organize the worlds private or semi-priavte information (Google Apps).
That sounds all well and good to me as a “new” mission for Google. I benefit greatly from Google Apps in the areas of productivity, communication, collaboration, etc. I also love how Google Apps brings my web and mobile experiences together (go Android!). This organization of my private and semi-private information worlds along with the traditional search capabilities of Google are all-in-all just fantastic. However, I would like to see Google take yet one more step.
If step one was “Organizing the worlds information – PUBLIC”
If step two is “Organizing the worlds information – PRIVATE/SEMI-PRIVATE/PERSONAL/ORG/ENTERPRISE”
I would like to see a step three:
“Organizing the worlds information – TACIT/CONVERSATIONAL/DIALOGUE”
I envision this as a real-time mashup of WAVE/VOICE/GMAIL where Google users can search for real-time information from real people. There would need to be a transactional piece (like eBay), a ratings/review piece (like Amazon), and a security/verification piece (Facebook connect?). Of course, I am sure Google can add their own serahc piece as well…
An example use case:
I am a student at a public school working with a small group of other students. Our teacher has just given us a writing assignment. We have been asked to write an alternative healthcare bill for congress. We are to provide an abstract which includes a summary of our position on the current debate and the key elements or our bill would contain (if a real bill for congress). And BTW it is due in 45 minutes! We start by reviewing online content including editorials and Senate.gov materials and having a conversation about our general thoughts and understandings. We are having difficulty grasping the differences between the two main sides of this debate and we are looking to run our current ideas past an expert. Using Google’s real-time search mashup, we locate 2 people online currently that claim to be healthcare experts. We read the reviews of past interactions they have had with other users and we check their public Facebook pages. We use Voice/Wave to call each of them and our conversation and interview notes are captured and shared. From these two interviews we are able to check our ideas and clarify how our views differ from the two views put forth currently in Congress. We are not billed by the two experts because we are students. We do, however, give positive feedback on each experts page and give a brief comment on what our objective was and how we were helped.
I am at a bar. A friend and I get into a heated debate over who was the female star in the late 80’s movie “Weird Science”. Was it Kelly McGillis or Kelly LeBrock? Not only are we fighting over the name of the actress but we both wonder what happened to either of these actresses. A Google search on a mobile in a bar late at night is possible but not probable. A quick search of experts online that have expertise based on a keyword search of “80’s movie trivia” using Google’s real-time search mash-up pulls up three possibilities. We use Google Voice to call one of them, get our answer and pass the phone around to others at the bar that have additional Weird Science related questions.
I just finished watching a local nightly news program. There was a disturbing report of an oil spill in the bay of a town I once visited in Alaska. I am really interested in knowing more about the spill, what the response is going to be, who is involved, etc, etc. A quick Google News search only turns up a link to the story I just watched. Using Google’s real-time search mash-up I find that 2 people who live in the town are online now and have gestured that they want to discuss the latest on what is happening on the ground. I use Voice/Wave to contact one of the people who is all ready speaking with 3 others who have contacted him to get more information as well. Eventually, when I disconnect, over 30 people are listening to the first hand account (the person is actually on his cell phone standing on the beach of the bay) and asking questions. I look back later and see the transcript of the conversation I was involved in online (and others) linked to other first hand accounts. By this point, traditional media are following up their original story with quotes from these conversations.
This is the the third stage for Google in my opinion. Imagine having access to a global network of real-time people in addition to the text, audio, video, search results, etc. Imagine being able to connect all of the mobile phones in the world and the people who carry them each with their own unique skill set. Now imagine a system that administers the searching for, verification of, payment of (optional), rating of, and transcribing for later use of this network. Imagine the possibilities for education, for medicine, for government, for fun!