I used to think the Semantic Web was the Moby Dick of the Web. But now I think the Google OS and Office is. In the famous novel, Moby Dick is a mythical great white whale. It's an embodiment of evil and power to Captain Ahab, whose goal is to hunt down the beast. However the book's narrator, Ishmael, isn't sure if the whale is good or evil.
Do you see the similarities between Moby Dick and the Mountain View company? A Google OS and Web-based Office has been rumored for so long now, it's almost become a myth. And like Ishmael, most of us aren't sure whether the beast is good or evil.
I mention all this in response to Jason Calacanis' excellent post entitled CES analysis: Why I know Google will do an office suite and a desktop OS in 2006. Jason predicted that Google will:
"a. launch calendar and office suite in the next six months.
b. by the end of the year they will come out with a Linux-based OS and offer it for free to PC makers. Those PC makers will love Google for giving them a free OS and Google will love extending the reach of their money maker: google Adsense."
He backed those predictions up with some great logic and deduction. As did Jason Kottke when he came out with his GoogleOS post back in August. One can't deny the pure logic of the two Jasons. GoogleOS? Sure, it's a shoo-in. Google has to do it, otherwise Microsoft wins with Windows and MS Office.
So what's the hold-up? We all suspect Google is up to something. As Ben Barren noted: "What is all that headcount on Firefox and OpenOffice really doing we wonder?" Google Pack, which is basically a cobbled-together collection of default applications for a desktop, is perhaps a sign of things to come. Nick Carr thinks it may be a trojan horse, allowing Google to automatically update software on users PCs - thus routing around Microsoft's control of the OS.
It remains to be seen whether Google Pack lives up to its mythical Greek status, but I'll come right out and say that I agree with Jason's conclusion that Google will release an OS and Office suite by the end of this year. Disclaimer: I'm a romantic at heart and I believe in the myth of the White Whale.
"And thus, through the serene tranquillities of the tropical sea, among waves whose hand-clappings were suspended by exceeding rapture, Moby Dick moved on, still withholding from sight the full terrors of his submerged trunk, entirely hiding the wrenched hideousness of his jaw. But soon the fore part of him slowly rose from the water; for an instant his whole marbleized body formed a high arch, like Virginia's Natural Bridge, and warningly waving his bannered flukes in the air, the grand god revealed himself, sounded, and went out of sight. Hoveringly halting, and dipping on the wing, the white sea-fowls longingly lingered over the agitated pool that he left.
With oars apeak, and paddles down, the sheets of their sails adrift, the three boats now stilly floated, awaiting Moby Dick's reappearance."
Herman Melville: Moby Dick - Chapter cxxxiii - THE CHASE - FIRST DAY