Google Dump

I hate to do this because I already write about Google way too much as it is, but… they are making fairly big waves several times a week. What else can I do?

First up, how to add your favorite blog to your personalized Google home page.
1) You’ll need to set up a Google Account. Get that here: Google Account Signup.
2) Set your home page to the Google Personalized page by going to the Personalized Google page and dragging the icon in the address bar onto your “Home” toolbar button (works in IE and Firefox).
3) Log in, if you haven’t already.
4) On your new home page page, click the Add Content button in the top left corner. This will open a side bar of options for adding content to your personalized page. Click the Create a Section node. Enter “A Broken Thought” (or whatever the name of your favorite blog is) in the search field and click Go. The blog should pop up at the top of the list.
5) Click the add button and it will add the feed to your personalized page. You can close the side bar once you’re done adding features.

Next up is Google Sitemaps. I checked it out when it was first announced, and it didn’t really look that useful to me. Google is giving webmasters a way to describe the organization of their site so that search engines can better find their way around. It would have been way too hard to build a description of my site and keep it up to date, and Google already does a good job of finding its way around, so I didn’t worry about it. Well, now I find out that you can get some cool usage information by creating a sitemap profile (you don’t actually need to build a sitemap). I went ahead and tried it out, and it’s pretty cool. Of course, Google Analytics that I mentioned a few days ago is even better. By the way, they’re having some trouble keeping up with demand, but it is collecting data and is pretty nice.

Google Base has launched for real (after a false launch about a month ago) and is very interesting. They’ve basically created a generic database structure and are letting people and just about anything they want to it. They have predefined item types such as Course Schedules, Events and Activities, Jobs, Products, Recipes, and Reviews. You can also define your own item types if you want. It’s kind of like a gigantic classifieds section plus a bunch of other stuff. All of these things can already be found on the web, but by storing them in a structured format, Google will be able to manage and search the information better. It’s really very close to what the Semantic Web has promised for years, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Google supported Semantic Web data from any website/database. Just like the rest of the web, if people put valuable information in, then it’ll be successful.

Last up is Robert Cringely‘s article Google-Mart. Somehow (I have no idea how), he seems to have information about Google building mobile data-centers that it can place in strategic locations around the world and connect to the Internet. This will allow them to host huge amounts of data and keep it close to users no matter where they are in the world (in theory). The easiest and most obvious use of this capacity would be to host static content like websites and movies and never have to worry about bandwidth or lag times. Bob notes that they could use this to support web based office applications. Of course, they could do all of that and a whole lot more (like VoIP). We’ll just have to wait and see, but if he is right: wow.

All of these bits of news are new as of this week. How can Google keep up this pace? What’s going to be the next announcement that will seem to come out of left field and yet make perfect sense? What would happen if companies like Microsoft, Sun, IBM, and Oracle learned to be this fast and innovative? Is Google really producing good systems, or just good prototypes (aka betas)?

PS: The latest rumor is that Google has bought Riya.

PPS: I just got an amazingly fast comment stating that Riya hasn’t been bought by Google. Thanks for the comment Shel. I guess that’s why they’re called rumors.