« Yahoo!? | Main | Behind the hedgerow, eating garbage »

Google's cloud

October 26, 2007

Google not only wants to hold all our data; it also wants to host all our applications. That, according to Robert Cringely, is the secret meaning behind the recent announcement that Google would be contributing code to MySQL, the popular open-source database. "While Google has long been able to mess with the MySQL code in ITS machines," writes Cringely, "it hasn't been able to mess with the code in YOUR machine and now it wants to do exactly that." Why? Because "Google wants us to embrace not just cloud computing but Google's version of cloud computing, the hooks for which will be in every modern operating system by mid-2009, spread not by Google but by a trusted open source vendor, MySQL."

Mid-2009 is when the new version of MySQL, with the Google hooks, will appear, says Cringely. It's also, he argues, when Google's global data center network will be complete.

THAT's when things will get really interesting. Imagine a much more user-friendly version of Amazon's EC2 and S3 services, only spread across 10 or more times as many machines. And as with all its services, Google will offer free versions at the bottom for consumers and paid, but still cost-effective versions nearer the top for businesses and education.

Google's goal here is to help us, of course, but along the way the company will have marginalized most higher-end computing vendors, especially Microsoft. They will have also made us totally dependent on Google services in such a way that we'll never, ever, be able to extricate ourselves. We'll be slaves, but happy slaves, and Google will come to dominate all computing for the next generation. Take the $100+ billion that U.S. industry currently spends each year on data center-based computing, cut that price in half and send it straight to the Googleplex.

Far-fetched? A bit. But sometimes you have to stretch to see the future. As Google made clear earlier this week, it's plotting an aggressive move into the delivery of applications, for businesses as well as consumers. Said CEO Eric Schmidt: “Most people who run small businesses would like to throw out their infrastructure and use ours for $50 per year." But it's not just small businesses that Google's targeting. The company also announced it's running Google Apps pilots in a couple of dozen Fortune 1000 companies, and in that context the primary role of Google Apps may be as a Trojan Horse that gets big companies used to the idea of running their apps on the world's most efficient supercomputer. Truth be told, most big companies wouldn't hesitate to throw out their IT infrastructure if a cheaper, more flexible and more secure alternative was available. Comments Schmidt, drily: "It looks like it can get pretty big."

Comments

Vic Gundotra appears to be heading up this idea of Google giving away lots of open source to move the Web forward with a Google spin

http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=6766

Posted by: dfarber at October 26, 2007 04:35 PM

In a couple of years Google will be a utility.
See my small cartoon

Bye,
Oliver

Posted by: Oliver Widder at October 26, 2007 05:44 PM

I have talked about this topic a lot with large organisations. Whilst they don't knock the potential benefits of switching to hosted storage and services, concerns about data security and privacy are ensuring they do nothing. Globalisation may be changing business but politics are still localised. Regulatory requirements for data management need to change and that requires governments to start thinking cloudy too.

Posted by: Joining Dots at October 27, 2007 04:33 AM

Cringely is the last guy I would rely on for this sort of analysis, since he's so often embarrassingly wrong on technical details. I just don't see how contributing to MySQL ensures Google's domination of web services/applications.

Posted by: Kendall Brookfeld at October 27, 2007 11:53 AM

Even if it were supposed that there would be the following tendencies, the product that the additional value was high and the evidence that service was overwhelmingly liked exist but a lot of companies fall into the experience-curve.

The company catches the action as if it would believe the only variable to operate not only the cost but also operating prices.

Therefore, the company has lost sight of the variable, the customer needs, the emerging service and the quality.

It would be necessary to have "Innovation" for not only the corporate organization but also the individual.

Posted by: Makio Yamazaki at October 27, 2007 05:39 PM

Google is hosed (slowly, and lovingly) in a very classical way, just like microsoft:

It's the first-mover disadvantage.

Data-centers? Soon to be a commodity while Google's sunk costs in in-house provision are deep. Innovation comes from elsewhere so those sunk costs are a first-mover disadvantage.

Aggregation of data? Next up to the plate are the firms that sell timeshares on a google-esque map-reduce engine. Where's Google's big advantage then? All of their IP is *at best* some very tenuous patents -- little or nothing that isn't obvious to practitioners skilled in the art once they are sitting at the console of the map reduce engine.

There's brand, of course. Is Google the next Coke? I sorta doubt it - they don't have coke's head start.

They're horked. (And maybe even in my lifetime :-)

-t

Posted by: Tom Lord at October 28, 2007 04:21 AM

Firefox is basically provided to us by Google through the ad funding agreement. Based on my experience of Firefox I'd be happy for Google to work their magic in other areas of the internet

Posted by: Charlie at October 28, 2007 11:25 PM

Post a comment




Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)

carrshot5.jpg Subscribe to Rough Type

Now in paperback:
shallowspbk2.jpg Pulitzer Prize Finalist

"Riveting" -San Francisco Chronicle

"Rewarding" -Financial Times

"Revelatory" -Booklist

Order from Amazon

Visit The Shallows site

The Cloud, demystified: bigswitchcover2thumb.jpg "Future Shock for the web-apps era" -Fast Company

"Ominously prescient" -Kirkus Reviews

"Riveting stuff" -New York Post

Order from Amazon

Visit Big Switch site

Greatest hits

The amorality of Web 2.0

Twitter dot dash

The engine of serendipity

The editor and the crowd

Avatars consume as much electricity as Brazilians

The great unread

The love song of J. Alfred Prufrock's avatar

Flight of the wingless coffin fly

Sharecropping the long tail

The social graft

Steve's devices

MySpace's vacancy

The dingo stole my avatar

Excuse me while I blog

Other writing

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

The ignorance of crowds

The recorded life

The end of corporate computing

IT doesn't matter

The parasitic blogger

The sixth force

Hypermediation

More

The limits of computers: Order from Amazon

Visit book site

Rough Type is:

Written and published by
Nicholas Carr

Designed by

JavaScript must be enabled to display this email address.

What?