Has Google Finally “Got” The Ideas Presented In #EPIC2015?

On Monday, I shared the classic EPIC2015 with my undergraduate new media class. We discussed which companies had been less or more influential than this 2004 vision and how the vision missed mobile and YouTube. 

2006. Google combines all of its services into the Google Grid, a universal platform that provides a functionally limitless amount of disk space and bandwidth to store and share media of all kinds. Each user selects her own level of privacy. She can store her content securely on the Google Grid or publish it for all to see. It has never been easier for people to make their lives part of the media landscape.

2007. Microsoft responds to Google’s mounting challenge with Newsbotster, a social news network and participatory journalism platform. Newsbotster ranks and sorts news based on what each user’s friends and colleagues are reading, and viewing and it allows everyone to comment on what they see.

In 2004, Mark Zuckerburg launched Facebook, which more closely matches the description of the fictional Google Grid’s ease of use than anything the search giant has launched. Facebook has also enticed its customer base to make private decisions public — showing us content (but not yet ranking it, no Digg-like feature yet)  that our friends are reading (Facebook integration) — and Facebook makes it very easy for “everyone to comment on what they see.”

Strike outs here for both Google and Microsoft.

google circles
Google Circles
But now Google has launched a field test of its latest “social” effort: the Google+ project. One of the core ideas — our desire to share information selectively — was also at the heart of the imaginary Google Grid. And it answers one of the criticisms of Facebook. Steven Levy (@stevenjayl) has a great background on the project, code-named Emerald Sea, at Wired:

Emerald Sea is not a Facebook killer, Gundotra told me. In fact, he added, somewhat puckishly, “people are barely tolerant of the Facebook they have,” citing a consumer satisfaction study that rated it barely higher than the IRS. Instead, he says, the transformation will offer people a better Google.

Nonetheless, it was impossible to deny that “+1” (as it was then called) offered some of features closely associated with Facebook. The overall difference is that Google would try to leverage its assets to do certain things more effectively than Facebook, and attempt other things that Facebook can’t pull off yet.

“The internet is nothing but software fabric that connects the interactions of human beings,” Gundotra said. “Every piece of software is going to transformed by this primacy of people and this shift.” Gundotra said that to date identifying people has been “the most epic failure of Google…. Because we were focusing on organizing the world’s information, the search company failed to do the most important search of all.”

Did Google learn from Wave? In other words, is the product ready for prime time and is it easy to use? (Wave was neither.) The answer to the second question may be yes:

So why does Google+ look so good? It’s simple; it was designed by one of the creators of the original Macintosh.

Me, I’m looking forward to Sparks, which is designed to track my interests and recommend content that it thinks I will like. This bot/AI/whatever-you-want-to-call-it — if it can learn as fast as SPAM algorithms (give me more of this and less of that, you know, like Zite) — could be the deal-maker for information junkies (which includes journalists, politicos, marketing folks …. and a host of others):

Sparks delivers a feed of highly contagious content from across the Internet. On any topic you want, in over 40 languages. Simply add your interests, and you’ll always have something to watch, read and share—with just the right circle of friends:

What do you think? Has the train left the station or can Google catch up?

Watch EPIC2015 and Google+ :

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By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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