Google has announced Google Gadget Ventures, a Google pilot program dedicated to helping developers create richer, more useful Google Gadgets. But the catch is they are shelling out cash to developers who want to make their iGoogle site better. It actually makes a lot of sense: pay developers to enhance the functionality of their site. Enhance the functionality of your site, increase user value.
My major tech problem with Google Gadgets is simple: there are plenty of other Gadget platforms out there. Rather than building on the strengths of these competitive platforms and embracing their inherit “open nature”, Google decided to build their own and clutter an already mature technology vertical by bribing developers in order to promote their web properties. This quam takes a back seat to my real world problem with this Google bribe.
I’m a NetVibes.com user and will never use iGoogle ever. And if you see me building an iGoogle gadget it will be because someone is paying me to do so. Did you know you can build a NetVibes.com module and it’s basically the same as an iGoogle gadget? On top of that if you use NetVibes.com as your news reader, Google will not be stashing all your secret reading habits to later apply in pushing more tailored advertisements to you!
Alexa gives NetVibes.com a traffic ranking of 801 of all sites they rank. In comparison iGoogle, is ranked 1,261,393. So it is no shock they are literally paying developers to get them more traffic. They need it to build up their ad revenue as the information you consume does indicate the information you will consume.
Once again Google is trying to create a community effect – similar to Google 3D warehouse where they managed to have users contribute millions of 3D models to their repository. But in the 3D world, they didn’t pay people to provide these contributions – is this because they didn’t know how to monetize the 3D stuff on any large scale? Who knows.
Anyway, this venture is a significant step for Google as they realize that the number of available iGoogle gadgets will directly relate to the popularity of their iGoogle site and greatly enhance the granularity of data they can collect on you VIA the information you consume through their portal. They are trying to become a destination site, and no doubt will be knocking on your ISP’s door to be the default.
They are not doing this to get closer to any desktop – they are doing it to get closer to your pocket book VIA tailored advertising.
This is a direct response to a threat identified in the Google annual report:
“We also compete with destination web sites that seek to increase their search-related traffic. These destination web sites may include those operated by Internet access providers, such as cable and DSL service providers .…. If an access provider or a computer or computing device manufacturer offers online services that compete with ours, the user may find it more convenient to use the services of the access provider or manufacturer. In addition, the access provider or manufacturer may make it hard to access our services by not listing them in the access provider’s or manufacturer’s own menu of offerings, or may charge users to access our websites or the websites of our Google Network members. Also, because the access provider gathers information from the user in connection with the establishment of a billing relationship, the access provider may be more effective than we are in tailoring services and advertisements to the specific tastes of the user.”
iGoogle is bad.
Over and Out