I wanted to go on the record and think out loud regarding the Google + Sun announcement which is is landing in about 41 minutes… so, I gotta keep this brief.
I see two scenarios here both of which don’t make much initial sense. I’m very much looking forward to being proven wrong.
Scenario #1. Google and Sun are developing a web-based office suite. There are two sub-scenarios here. They’ve built the mother of all AJAX applications OR they’re thinking they can get folks to run Java versions of these applications. I will not even discuss the Java option because to think that any Java application will come close to replicating native application user experience in terms of both performance and interaction is absurd.
So, AJAX, then? Well, it’s a fine idea, but I have seen no evidence that AJAX is ready for this sort of responsibility. I’ve been paying close attention to the folks @ 37Signals and I consider them to be on the bleeding edge of this stuff, but they’re still developing in the “app-let” space and have not crossed over to full blown applications. Their tagline: Simple software to get you organized.
Ok, maybe the WHOLE POINT OF WEB 2.0 is that my concept of traditional applications will need to change, but I’m a nerd and my Mom is not and you’re not going mainstream with any Office application if my Mom can’t use it. Last time I checked, we were still working on making it easy BOLD text inside a browser without using byzantine Wiki formatting.
Scenario #2: Sun is using Google’s distribution power to push some variant of StarOffice. (Hmmm: Yeah, I guess both Scenarios could be in play) Anyhow, the idea that because Google is everyone’s favorite search engine gives them ability to push software is as absurd as the Cool Java on the Desktop meme. Yeah, they’ve got scads of scalable cheap hardware all over the planet and I’m sure they can push bits really really fast, but what bits are they pushing? StarOffice? Quick, tell me what version they’re on. It’s version number 8. Please tell me one interesting thing that occurred between version 1 and 8…
Don’t worry. I’ll wait.
No, go ahead.
Nothing? Ok, do this. Name a single successful consumer facing application developed by Sun.
I do want to be inspired by whatever Google+Sun have cooked up, but as I move the puzzle pieces around in head, I do not see a scenario that makes a lot of sense. Once I’ve read whatever is going down in 28 minutes, I’ll update this entry.
[10/4/05 Update]: Here’s the updated Sun press release.
I’ll boil down this announcement to the bullet points:
– Sun will include the Google toolbar as part of Java download from their site. Quote, “There is a direct monetary value for us being a distribution mechanism for the toolbar.” Translation: Google is giving cash to Sun.
– Google will significantly increase its purchasing of Sun servers. Translation: Google is giving cash to Sun.
There’s a bunch of more blithering about the deal here, but I think I can sum this up pretty easily. Sun needs cash. Sun needs exposure. Google made an strategic investment in both today. Everything else regarding OpenOffice, Google’s involvement in driving Java, etc, etc, is interesting, but there is nothing at all revolutionary going on here. Both companies are planning to do “great things” , but that describes the mission statement of every company in the valley.
What a snooze. Why not use this event to announce you’ve done something amazing rather than trying to spin the world on that fact that you’re saving a company in distress?