Google has just announced two extraordinarily ambitious strategic gambits in the span of a week, and I'm not convinced that it can pull either of them off.
First the company announced OpenSocial, a hasty attempt to smother social-network phenom Facebook by pulling together an alliance of more than 50 of that upstart's peers and competitors. The idea is twofold: to make it easier for software developers to build universally compatible applications and to open up social websites to newfangled forms of targeted "social advertising," something Facebook actually started offering the next week.
Then Google (Charts) took the wraps off something even bigger: a grand plan to redefine the cellphone. Through the so-called Open Handset Alliance, Google will provide software and programming protocols for others to employ in building a new class of smartphone handsets and cellular information services. Once again, the unspoken goal is to create handheld billboards for blasting even more ads at us.
The article acknowledges that Google is trying to create a platforms in the online social networking and mobile communications space. But then, it says that the author is not convinced Google can pull it off simply because "this kind of software is hard"! Okay, thanks for stating the obvious. Anything more? The article concludes with the following statement about Google's "clear vision of the future" :
Google doesn't seem to take into account the most fundamental rule of high tech: Don't mistake a clear view for a short distance.
Seriously, does anybody really think that Google is so short-sighted?