I saw this cool article over at Computerworld by Sharon Gaudin on Google's parting gift to Eric Schmidt – $100M in stock and options, vested over four years.
Wow! That's one heck of a thank you card. I'd definitely say, "you're welcome!"
The article goes on to state that the management change is likely due to an agreement that Larry Page and Sergey Brin had with Schmidt – You run the company while we gain business experience, then one of us will take over. Larry Page obviously thinks that now is the time.
And he may be right. Google turned 12. Their financials are firm, and their future looks pretty good. But $100M clams?! Wow! Man, I’d settle for 1.0% of that in cash (well actually a whole lot less…) but I’m just sayin’. Schmidt has obviously done a good job, putting the company in a decent position to take on challenger Facebook over the next few years.
I’m not certain what the company has in mind if it takes on the social network giant; but let’s at least hope it’s a heck of a lot better than their Google Buzz introduction. That attempt to take over and recreate a Twitter look alike went over like a lead balloon. Twitter is well established; and while 140 characters ain’t much, ga-jillions of peeps tweet all day long. If Google intends to take on Facebook, then they had better provide a social networking solution with one HECK of a compelling reason to move from a very comfortable, very familiar experience to something new; and I really DO mean a HECK of a compelling reason.
The FB Masses are much like my wife and mother-in-law (who recently got on the computer for the FIRST time about a year ago when my wife introduced her to Farm Town). They don’t like change, don’t want change, and will RESIST change, simply because change is different than what they were used to (and really, “what was wrong with what [I] had before?!?”). Most everything that they want to do (chat, keep up with friends, share pictures, play games, etc.) they can already do on Facebook; and quite honestly, Facebook is doing a very good job. So why switch..?
If Google does decide to take a poke, I think they’re going to have to address the following:
- Facebook to Google Whatever (like in, whatever they decide to call it) export/import
- Easy FB Photos to Picasa photo album transfer
- Easy FB Videos to YouTube transfer and integration
- Tons (read UNLIMITED) of photo and video storage
- Easy FB Friend to Google Whatever Friend import and invite
- Executable over the web
- Android based??
- Android Smartphone compatible
- Market installable so I can install it on my Froyo or better compatible phone and take the game with me where ever I go
- Game progress can be transferred/synchronized back to the cloud so that I can play via a desktop again when I want
- Team/vs. mode regardless of client (desktop or mobile device – read tablet…) that allows people to play any time, anywhere, with anyone
- Google Cloud Print Compatible
- Print photos to any printer, anywhere on the internet (so new pics show up on Grandma’s printer…Surprise Grandma! New pictures of Junior just for you..!)
- Google Docs/Google Apps integratable
- I can share/grant read/write permissions for docs with friends if I want
- Friends can update and save documents
- Documents are printable via Google Cloud Print
- On-line Photo and Video Editing
- FB Chat to Google Talk transition instructions and orientation
- Life Integration
- All tools available via Android Smartphone apps from the Android Market
- Desktop tools available for off-line edits and updates (See Google Pack)
- Full 2-way sync for all account end-points
The final product is going to have to be a lot better looking than iGoogle, too. It’s an ok portal, but if its going to be the beginnings of a FB challenger, then Google is going to have to get serious about Social, and serious about some value-added glitz. If you look here, you’ll see that Google’s got a lot of what’s needed already. They just need to repackage it, put it in a different wrapper and/or portal offering, and then listen to their users and the feedback they give.
Making all of the above available off-line and syncable is going to be huge. My family is at Disney right now with Grandma and Grandpa. The hotel they’re staying at, even those on premises, don’t offer free Wi-Fi or internet access. Being able to off-load all of my pictures and videos to a desktop client where I can organize them, touch them up and then have them automatically sync up to the cloud where I can further tweak, share, etc., would be huge when I take my laptop with me, but can’t get to my cloud based tools.
That’s the Google-dollar question – what’s Google going to do; and what will it look like? I’m not certain what Larry Page has up his sleeve, but its going to be an interesting time as a consumer if Google does go up against Facebook. No matter what happens, taming the Social Network monster is going to be a big job. I don’t know of anyone else around that has the talent and resources available to take on the challenge. Again, I just hope that the end results are a heck of a lot better than Google Buzz, and its initial offering. If that’s what Google’s gonna give us, they might as well do everyone a favor and not even try…
But, I’m just sayin’…