Fusion and other Googly goodies
Trapped in the Googleplex all day without our laptop as news breaks out all over. Not a good feeling. But hey, we're MSM, so what do you expect...?
So the Google PR people must be feeling good about themselves. They told anyone who asked not to expect any news out of the Google Factory Tour today. And then they dropped this on everybody. We won't delve too deep into the new personalized home page, since it's already been covered fully elsewhere. Here's Charlene Li's take. And suffice it to say that Jeremy Zawodny is, um, underwhelmed. We're inclined to agree with John Battelle, who said that in a way, this is "something of a breakthrough for the company." Think about how little Google has ever done with its home page. This must feel radical in a lot of ways. And something tells us there's more to come. Can a more robust RSS aggregator of some type be far behind?
[Side note: Call us softies, but it was cool to see the personalized home page team members watch from the back of the room as their product was unveiled to the world. You don't often see all the real faces behind Google products (or any other company, for that matter), especially at such a key moment. They were charmingly thrilled.]
Other tidbits from today:
Google all but said that they're OK with all those cool mash-ups that people are making with their new maps service. "We're working to do things so they're not considered hacks,'' said Google Maps engineer Lars Rasmussen. "I certainly hope we don't have to shut them down.'' (An aside: Google wouldn't give us Lars' last name because it feared he'd be poached by recruiters for other companies. His bio is here, though, which we found by Googling him).
Speaking of maps, we got a sneak preview of the next version of Keyhole,the 3-D satellite imagery software. The effects seem more amazing than ever. And now Google has embedded its mapping and search technologies into the software. The new release is due in two weeks.
There are no plans yet to run ads on Dodgeball.com, the mobile social networking service that Google just bought. Ditto for Orkut. "We want to make sure it gets used, and then look at ways to monetize it,'' said Salar Kamangar, director of product mangement for ads.