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Friday, January 21, 2005

A Method to Google's Madness?

In a lengthy LA Times piece titled "Free-for-All Could Pay Off for Google" (via Yahoo News), reporter Chris Gaither goes in-depth about Google's acquisition and relaunch of Picasa, the photo organizer software.

A key section of the article helps explain Google's surprise acquisition, now in version 2.0, which is offered as a free download:
Picasa didn't have the luxury of giving away its software when it was part of Idealab, the high-tech incubator in Pasadena that initially funded the photo services company. To Idealab Chief Executive Bill Gross, Picasa seems like one piece in Google's grand plan to house people's e-mail, photos and other digital files in addition to launching their Web searches.

"I think Google wants to be the place where you store your life," he said.

"What they're doing is brilliant. They are using each of their services to promote their other services very well."
I wouldn't argue with that assessment. I will admit to being puzzled by this move when it happened last year, but as Google's strategy begins to unfold in the public arena, it does make sense.

It's fun to see Google explore these unconventional areas to see if they can bring the "Google experience" to other online features besides search and e-mail. But, they really must be careful not to take their eye off the ball in terms of search. Microsoft will stop at nothing to destroy Google and will be watching closely for sings of weakness.

On a related note, Danny recently wrote an epic comparison of Picasa 2.0 and Adobe Photo Manager. If you're a recreational photographer, you might be interested.

Posted by Cory Kleinschmidt




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