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October 14, 2006

The Silent Companion

New York Times has an article titled Planet Google Wants You in which contemplates the ever-growing Google ubiquity. The ending is really beautiful:

Toni Carreiro, a Web designer in San Rafael, Calif., and a self-described Google addict, said that the elegant simplicity of Google's design is a blank slate upon which she can impose her own personality: It's not there to sell you on anything, just to help you, while other sites, she said, are full of blinking ads and clutter.

"They have all this animation going," she said. "I just want my stuff. That's what Google gives you — 'me.'"

Google is not the only company that says it cares about the users, but Google is afraid that people start to hate it, so it does everything to prevent that. Google's simplicity is just one way of being friendly. Another way is giving options and not forcing users to choose things they don't want to. And if they have to make a choice, Google tries to be honest (and sometimes pay for the honesty).

Google is a silent companion that listens to you and tries to help you only when you ask for it. Others do like Bonzi Buddy: try to sell you stuff, try to make themselves useful when you don't need them, ask silly questions and make you feel you owe them. And maybe that's why Tony identify herself with Google.


  1. I agree fully with the article. But furthermore Google offers so much (e.g. calendar, Gmail, maps, writely, spreadsheets, desktop search, etc. etc. etc.). My opinion is that if Google stays on their present course they will eclipse Microsoft and change the way the world works. I love having my files (calendar, spreadsheets, word processor documents) available on any computer with internet access.

    I would however love to see Google have a sync program that would automatically backup for example a Google spreadsheet to your hard-drive in case you can’t access the Web and need a file.

  2. I started using Google products in the summer of 2005 when a friend invited me to use Gmail. So far I have brought my parents and two dozen friends (and maybe some of their other friends, who knows) onboard because it is easy to use and not have to worry about deleting email. Also, I like the fact that the adverts are small and unoffensive. By the way, I have purchased things from the adverts -- an unlikely event with a big, annoying, flashing ad. I use the Google Calendar every day for personal and work-related appointments (I am an attorney and it is an excellent system, especially the reminders I get as text messages on my cell phone). I use Google Notebooks, and the Docs and Spreadsheets. I am not a tech professional so I enjoy ease of use. As a Mac user at home, I am also grateful that most things work well on a Mac (I would love a Google Desktop for Mac, guys, if anyone is listening). Bottom line: Google has made the web more entertaining for me and more productive!

  3. Steve's suggestion is a good one - provided docs are only sync'd locally on your own PC. Maybe that would be a good thing to integrate with google desktop (as a means of verifying ownership of the desktop, and creating synergy with that product)?

    A.K.A. notmyopinion
    (why can't I import my blog to blogger beta?)


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