It’s looking more and more like I was right about Google.Me. It’s sort of good to be right (particularly in the face of all the internet hype about how Google.Me is going to reinvent the internet and so forth), but bad that Google.Me is shaping up to be an expanded Google Buzz, mashing together a disparate bunch of applications, some of which Google is buying as we speak, into an inelegant, Gmail-captive mess. I hold out hope that I’m wrong about this, but the likelihood that I am diminishes with every new leak and rumor.
Google.Me will apparently be built on the back of Google Buzz (as I predicted long ago), which exists as an awkward bolt-on to Gmail.
We’ve also heard more from sources who’ve worked with Google on the product. “Google Me is not a product, it’s a social layer across all products” (not so helpful). But there’s more – “Google Me will produce an activity stream generated by all Google products. Google Buzz has been rewritten to be the host of it all. And the reason Google Buzz isn’t currently working in Google Apps is because they’ll use the latest Buzz to support the activity stream in Apps…All Google products have been refactored to be part of the activity stream, including Google Docs, etc. They’ll build their social graph around the stream.”
This is very bad and all the huffing and puffing in the blogosphere is not going to make it good. When someone describes their world-changing product with a bunch of gibberish that sounds vaguely like a ton of other failed products, that’s reason for concern if not full-on panic.
What Google should do is build a completely new service, largely from the ground up, using its own technology and that of the many, many applications and services it has acquired over the past few months. Gmail could be the digital hub for our online lives. For example, the recent expansion of more services into Google Apps has already led me to try (and fail, but at least it made me try) to like my Start Page (e.g., iGoogle). But stuffing more tossed together junk into Buzz, which was already tossed into our Gmail accounts sounds like the opposite of elegant. Candidly, it sounds like a snoozefest of meetooism.
I really hope I’m wrong, but at this point I can’t help but believe that the general reaction to Google.Me is going to be one big yawn.