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Will Google get it right this time?

Barely had the news of Google Wave demise faded the news of Google's latest acquisition Slide became news. Barely had the news Slide acquisition become news, another news came, Google reportedly buying another social networking start-up, Jambool. Puneet Mehrotra writes.

india Updated: Aug 10, 2010 18:16 IST

Barely had the news of Google Wave demise faded the news of Google's latest acquisition Slide became news. Barely had the news Slide acquisition become news, another news came, Google reportedly buying another social networking start-up, Jambool. Noteworthy is to remember Google Wave started in May 2009 as the email, instant messenger, real collaboration tool for web-2.0 was meant to transform communication, bring about real-time collaboration etc. Google killed it last week for obvious reasons. Google Wave was meant to be an alternative and much more combined with its sundry applications to win back its online turf that Facebook seems to be dominating in web 2.0.

Google desperation to win back its turf is clearly showing. So if not Google Wave, let it be Slide or just about anything. The objective is clear, Facebook needs to be shown its place, and Google needs to be reclaim its fading online dominance in web 2.0.

The Importance of Slide

According to Google "Slide has already created compelling social experiences for tens of millions of people across many platforms, and we've already built strong social elements into products like Gmail, Docs, Blogger, Picasa and YouTube. As the Slide team joins Google, we'll be investing even more to make Google services socially aware and expand these capabilities for our users across the web."

In other words Google desperately wants to dominate web2.0 and Slide is the latest in series to win back its turf.

The Turf Wars

To understand more let's get this into perspective. It's been over 8 years now, over 50 stories, I have been diligently following the Google Microsoft war saga. In the good old times there was the offline turf, ruled by Microsoft and there was the online turf ruled by Google. All was well and even though the trumpets of war had been blown between Google and Microsoft, the turf was clearly divided. So even though Steve Ballmer may have hurled a few abuses in reality or metaphorically shown Microsoft's desperation that a startup was beginning to challenge the planet's biggest organization, Microsoft, Google as the uber cool company of the new generation became stuff legends are made of taking on the powerful and mighty Microsoft. As connectivity got better the gap between online and offline blurred the Google Microsoft saga became bloodier. Google kept hitting Microsoft directly or indirectly sometimes with Gmail in an obvious attempt to hit Hotmail to become stronger in the online space by attracting one of the biggest reasons people get online, email, sometimes getting an entire open source army with Google Gears and sometimes attacking the heart of Microsoft Empire, the Microsoft Office. Sometimes getting it right at other times not, the war continues.

In good old times the online space comprised of search, email, videos and other online activities mostly dominated by Google. In web 2.0 came Facebook and today that huge space in which Google was super dominant is losing to Facebook.

Google acquisition of Slide is in a series of several attempts to win back that space in web 2.0

The Last Word

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results" said Einstein. Google seems to be doing in its bid to reclaim Facebook users.

Solutions always have and always will come in the circle outside the problem. Gmail worked because email suddenly got a new face which nobody had ever imagined or thought of. Today Gmail is probably one of the best and the cheapest or even free email solutions with features that should put IBM Lotus notes and even Microsoft to some kind of ancient beings for having thought of the solutions they did in their times. The people behind Gmail thought from the solution circle not from the problem circle. They never tried to better Hotmail or look at what more could be added to Hotmail, that would have just created a better Hotmail. Their out of the box thinking in creating what email should be like created the Gmail.

Looking at the web 2.0 space is Facebook perfect? Far from perfect it probably is missing out of half a dozen must have essentials yet with no alternative on the horizon users are stuck to it like glue. Facebook lacks collaborative tools majorly and so many other things. Why Google is not getting it right because Google needs to re-create solutions in its old avatar from the solutions circle, from the possibilities circle. Google says "…the web is about people, and we're working to develop open, transparent and interesting (and fun!) ways to allow our users to take full advantage of how technology can bring them closer to friends and family and provide useful information just for them." They just need to put that into practice!

Puneet Mehrotra writes on technology: ( )

First Published: Aug 10, 2010 18:12 IST