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The web widgets cronicles of Google

Posted: 2008-01-02 04:25 by AmItE

The seemingly endlessly creative staff at Google recently added a couple of new "free" services to their far spanning web, but are all this new products actually worth while and do we really need them or is it just the ever growing Google cobweb drones spinning out yet another cash cow while hiding behind the ever so holy "money...nooo, we are only here to help make the world a better place" routine.

I remember once - seems like not long ago where Google.com was simple just another search engine fighting for a peace of the web-surfers favor, and though they it was a good search engine it was only that; nothing more, nothing less. Those days it seems are long gone now and the little search-engine that could, still can.

Today the brand Google is a house-hold one and only a few can actually remember that there were choices for searching once a long time ago. Now all we have is Google and a bunch of empty shells pretending, sucked dry by the newcomer with the simple interface.

With Microsoft's live.com gamble in 2007 the marked is being stirred a bit, but the field is slim. AllTheWeb.com and Altavista both run on Yahoo!'s search engine, and while Yahoo! still are quite widely used in the US, I cannot remember the last time I heard of something using anything other then Google.Lycos and Teoma are both using Ask.com (Ask Jeeves), which is actually looking relatively promising. And of course the AOL searches are handled by Google. So Google, Yahoo, Microsoft live.com and the underdog: Ask.com - 4 actual search-engines left and Google holds more then 60% of the crawler cake (and growing).

Since Google launched Gmail around April 2004 they have been busy while chanting web based tools! web based tools! I am sure. Nevertheless with Google Analytics being a great hit and their Adsense program still making money head over fist they may as continue down the path without even considering looking back.

Google's webmaster program has had its startup gremlins, but as did Gmail if I remember correctly and that turned out more the fine.

These "newly" launched services from Google, unlike Gmail, are not something that most internet users will ever know nor understand as it is directly targeted for web-masters, web-developers and web-designers world-wide. So it will properly not matter that most wont ever know about it. It has a good chance of being adopted in many aspects by many web-professionals and if that succeeds, then all internet users will meet it daily and benefit from its features - whether they are aware of what it or not.

Theory, philosophy and usability of and behind the use of these widgets and services are as always very positive. There is only one problem; No matter how much they try to tell you otherwise: Google corp. is first of all a business and that means profit - and to be honest, it often shine through. Take the " Google Gadgets For Your Webpage" part of this new free-services portfolio. Almost each and every little thing have Google Adsense ad's as part of the layout which of course pays for the development but it also conflicts with their self-proclaimed goals for advancing the Internet use for the greater good of all.

Let us look at a few examples hereof.

EDIT: REMOVED EXAMPLES. Getting these from slow third party locations was reducing site performance.

This was just a brief example. There are literally hundreds of those tools available to you once you have created an account and passed along a few personal details. Seems like a fair trade.

I am personally very exited about some of the widget (Google Gadgets), but unfortunately realistically I must admit that the ads destroy any hope for it being used for anything else then brief entertainment, which I find to be a shame since the potential was for more.

Now this next service almost makes up for all those ad's. Google has designed a dynamic chart generation API (Application Programmers Interface). You can just call (browse) an URL with some predetermined variables such as:

http://chart.apis.google.com/chart?
cht=p
&chd=s:jjjjjjjjjj
&chs=500x200
&chl=player1|player2|player3|player4|player5|player6|player7|player8|player9|player10



demo API chart

And it will return a chart to you based on the values that you have provided - And seemingly ad-free!?. Definitely a service with potential for great many simple solutions to otherwise complex problems.

I occurred to me that Google is actually no longer a search engine. Granted it is still there they turn around the bulk of they revenue but it is not where they wish to remain. Google is a trafficker of information and ideas; after all those years searching for things on behalf of people they now have a fairly good idea of what people actually want, which is what they now try to turn into dollars.

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