free html hit counter We Already Have A Google OS - John Battelle's Search Blog

We Already Have A Google OS

By - November 24, 2006

It’s called search. Search *is* the new OS. Just most of the world hasn’t figured it out yet. All this speculation, it’s just folks noticing what’s already true.


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13 thoughts on “We Already Have A Google OS

  1. Lumpy says:

    I don’t know if I agree with you 100%. I certainly don’t disagree 100%. I think the speculation is more over what happens next. As far as search goes, hasn’t tagging taken it to a whole new level? Wouldn’t it be better said that "Finding and Sharing" is the new OS?

    I don’t Google nearly as much as I used to before I started using delicious. Now I track other delicous users. I tend to end up with more would be Google searches pre-fetched. Wouldn’t it benefit Google to get something that tracks our habbits and pre-fetches onto our desktops?

    Obviously, you are much more in the loop than I on such matters, which is one of the reasons I added you to my delicious network. Mr. Scoble is also way more in the know than I. I still can see why there is so much speculation on the topic. I think, of all the companies out there, Google is certainly very capable of taking, search, finding, sharing and Web2.0 to the next level.

  2. dhoom says:

    What are the typical use of an OS ?
    – To be a file store – Google is not
    – To be an application store – Google is not. There are some web based google apps , but still it is vastly lower than a generic framework for anyone to write web based apps on google.
    – A platform for apps to communicate – google is still not there.
    – To help used find something and help him do something – possibly google is

    I believe google is still not there. But they are the strongest contender to do it.

  3. Teddie says:

    John I am going to have to disagree with you, ‘search’ is NOT the OS. ‘Search’ is the forerunner of many great ‘applications’ online and an essential and powerful component of our information age, but the OS it is not.

  4. I agree with the folks above.
    It would only be the OS if I could run it with no other OS installed on the machine. Thats not the case.
    But I understand the idea of your post, search is the true natural programming language, and search is the tool to compile it.

  5. Ed Anuff says:

    C’mon John, search itself is not an OS, by any definition, and this really isn’t a case of the definitions being outdated. You could make the case that the whole set of services that Google offers is an OS, but most technologists with be more comfortable describing it as a platform. Search, is for better or for worse, an application. It may very well be the killer app for the net, like Office was to the PC, and truth be told, if that’s the case, it’s probably better than being in the OS business anyway.

  6. chad says:

    OK if we want to get to the core of what Batelle is insinuating, its that owning the search start point lets you determine what websites are accessed. Search is, to use a cliche, the commmand line for the web OS. Its not a perfect analogy by any means. But its the same thing people were saying about web portals during the last boom. Namely, “X” company / technology can replace Microsoft as a rent-taker on other software and media companies’ work. So, the theory is that search is that new platform. Maybe, maybe not. The internet itself is really the platform, and just because search companies are the place where most people find new things, that doesn’t mean that they can take a % of revenues from those new things. Or at least, they can but only by providing useful services like payments, file storage, ad serving, etc. Just being the #1 search engine isn’t by itself a DOS / Windows style lynchpin position whereby you automatically control the industry imho.

  7. Ben Clemens says:

    Ok, but search is not such a great interface to information!

  8. Well, Google is a huge filestore which indexes many websites that could be searched by users. They may add some extra features which are shared applications on the ineternet. However, it can not be called as OS. An operating system (OS) is a computer program that manages the hardware and software resources of a computer. How can Google do that?

  9. Couldn’t agree more. Right back to network computing 101. Central processing and storage with lots of thin clients. Probably not quite there yet – but not far off.

  10. John, Whether Google is the OS or not I would like to suggest it can be used as a platform for the perfect search. A search within a search – turning fields of servers into a field of relevance for each user. We’ve been inspired by your call to ‘imagine the perfect search’. Thank you.

  11. Phil says:

    search is not an OS, we’ve got a way to go before everything is done online.

  12. Search is the Internet OS. Today, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, IAC, Amazon’s A9 are all competing for eye balls. Now, Google could very well only be in consumer traffic and advertising businesses because of short term necessities until a viable grid computing business model emerges. The search ecosystem is getting much more fragmented. Crawling, indexing, computational linguistic and managing consumer media businesses definitely don’t require the same core competencies. Increasingly, search is the OS enabling content applications to deliver media and information-related consumer experiences. Search is the Internet OS providing core services upon which content applications run and communicate with underlying infrastructure services through APIs. Think of the search ecosystem as a 3-layer value chain:
    1. Media: everything content related, wherever it is.
    2. Content applications: Web browsers, media players, communication applications, …
    3. Search as the information OS: crawling, indexing, computational linguistic, device access management…
    Google and Microsoft think of Search as the Internet OS, a platform built on proprietary and open standards, very much focused on developing, surfacing, and documenting APIs, inviting developers to contribute value-add services legitimizing and extending their reach, usage, and business longevity.

    Today, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, IAC/Ask are stretching to cover the broad Search spectrum from exposing APIs to delivering the content experience. That might not prevail in the future, though. One of Google’s 10K filing with the SEC says “we began as a technology company and have evolved into a software, technology, Internet, advertising and media company all rolled into one”. I don’t subscribe so much with some analysts’ belief that Google will remain a media company, which does not mean they don’t need to get closer to media companies like AOL/Time Warner. Google’s capital expenditures to develop the biggest data center on earth puts them on a collision course with Microsoft, not with Yahoo! Google’s top management layer is made up of technologists, not media folks as is the case at Yahoo!

    In the future, Google and Microsoft will be leveraging large investments in research & development and own Search as an OS and touch on content applications mostly to enable the underlying search technology infrastructure, APIs and such. AOL, Yahoo!, IAC, and Amazon are consumer facing media and services companies, involved to some extent at the content application layer level, along with a sea of smaller third party developers.

    -arnaud

  13. david says:

    Given that the new ‘computer’ is distributed accross the web, the next gerneration OS must be more of a generally recognised communication protocol. Currently the closest thing to that remains tcp/ip. Google is just an app in this system.