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If only Google thought like Microsoft

The great thing about Google is they have lots of really useful applications. The bad thing about Google is that most of them don’t work together in any truly meaningful way. The thing is, as much as I like Google as a foil to Microsoft, Google could do with thinking more like Microsoft from time to time. It’s like no one inside Google is using their own applications, then sitting back and saying: “But what if?” That’s what Microsoft does…

This isn’t the first time I’ve given some thought to what Google could be doing with their considerable resources. After all, Google could conceivably put something together to compete with Microsoft Office.

Now there’s where Google have been thinking like Microsoft, so we know they can do it!

As a ‘blogger and a user of Google’s Blogger CMS (Content Management System), I feel left behind when I compare what I have to what people using WordPress have.

I’m due to move at some point, simply because Google Blogger trails so significantly behind the competition.

But what if Blogger, Docs & Spreadsheets, Analytics, Trends, FeedBurner, Notebook, Browser Sync and Webmaster Tools were to combine?

You see, Blogger on its own is OK, but: “8. Why can I not manage my article comments from within Blogger?” Wouldn’t that be good? Of course it would! Well the option to moderate comments right from the Dashboard is now present.

Taking things further, being able to pull up a list of back-links and anchor text (via integration with Webmaster Tools) to any article from the Dashboard within Blogger would be a real treat. I could see at a glance which articles are strong and which aren’t.

Better yet, what about being able to look at the statistics for that same article? So (via integration with Analytics) I could see what drove the traffic to that article – be that traffic from organic search with keywords, a Social Media website, a Social Networking portal, or from some link from a high-traffic ‘blog somewhere.

Now imagine you’ve just created a report in Docs & Spreadsheets and you want to embed a chart or a document. Being able to incorporate this kind of external data straight into a Blogger article would be a massive bonus, putting enormous power in the hands of you & me.

Similarly, relationships would exist between Analytics, FeedBurner and Webmaster Tools, which would be a boon for marketeers as well as web designers and web developers.

I could see which articles are responsible for the most feed subscription sign-ups by visitors, and what feed readers those visitors are using to view my articles. Or which articles generated the most Social Media bookmarks, with the likes of del.icio.us, StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit et cetera.

I could compare back-link anchor text from websites and ‘blogs with the keywords & key phrases against data from Trends, to see what the frequency of that data is and whether those terms are worth sticking with or not.

A recent update to the Webmaster Tools now lists “Subscriber stats” under “Statistics”, but it’s not enough! It’s just the number of subscribers who use Google products, with no additional information. There’s no data from my FeedBurner account – who incidentally have yet to move over to Google’s own Account system.

Now that I’ve got my documents and spreadsheets (and presentations, maybe?), I’ve got the Browser Sync and Notebook Add-Ons installed in Firefox, I want to be able to do interesting things with them.

What about being able to make a note of my comments on other Blogger ‘blogs with Notebook? Better yet, why not add that note item as a comment on an article of mine, complete with links?

What about commenting on someone’s ‘blog and leaving a link to a document or a spreadsheet? Other visitors could then view those documents just by clicking on them, assuming the ‘blog author in question has authorized my comment, that is.

But what if I forget where I’ve just been when I’m out with my laptop, or I’m at home? Doesn’t matter, because I’m using the Browser Sync Add-On for Firefox. But I’d like to see a list of where I’ve been that day prior to arriving home. That way, I can follow up comments and the like, which can easily be sourced from my Web History.

The observant will have noticed that I’ve made no mention of either AdWords of AdSense. The reason being that they are as significant again, in terms of what they can offer and what can be offered to them. Maybe a ‘blog article for another time.

I’ve said this before, but here’s a huge opportunity for Google to make their applications part of people’s workflow. So much so, that businesses and individuals around the world would be so smitten, to use anything else would be a wrench and a pain.

Now that’s where Google wouldn’t be thinking or acting anything like Microsoft. There the two would part ways…

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About the author

Wayne Smallman is the man behind Octane Interactive, a web design, web applications development and internet marketing agency. Octane has been around since 1999 and is based in Yorkshire, England.

Wayne has been in the new media industry working as a web designer & developer since the mid nineties and also provides a consultation service to businesses looking to make the most of their web presence.

He’s a passionate believer in the power of technology to better the lives of everyone and his passion and drive are hallmarks of his attitude to doing business.

Wayne is also the author of a series of web-related articles for businesses and individuals wanting to know more about the web and how the web can help them be more productive and work smarter, not harder.

By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

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