Friday, April 08, 2005

google still doesn't suck

Google's open architecture philosophy is fueling a renaissance in webware. Not only are they coming out with one cool thing after another, they are also giving the public access to the APIs that drive those things, and it seems like every week now I read about yet another Google-related bit of elegant engineering. For instance: this weeks Google goodness comes from Paul Rademacher, who combined Google Maps with Craigslist and came up with a web app that gives you a graphical way of searching for homes that are for rent or for sale. This sort of synergy is where it's at for the near future... people are figuring out ways to use data-mining to their own advantage rather than just having it used against them by the marketers.

This is the new business model:
  1. Develop your application.
  2. Admit that you aren't going to be able to come up with all of the brilliant ideas, so give away your product and publish your APIs.
  3. Watch as complete strangers use your tools to create things you'd never have dreamed of. As with open source and creative commons licensing, you'll find that people are so happy that they're not getting screwed, they'll gladly put a lot of time, energy, and yes, even money, into making your product better.
  4. Forget about deprioritizing your action items and focusing on your core competencies... just Don't Suck.

That last one looks like the kicker, but in practice most companies would never make it that far down the list so it's a moot point. Google's ethos ("Don't be evil") is a fine example of a company choosing a corporate philosophy that optimizes their chances of Not Sucking. And it's working :)