Tuesday 10 August 2010

Google nailed it for me!

Yesterday afternoon, I went all tourist-y and took the wife and kids on a day (afternoon) trip to London.  Having worked in Town for a few years now, I'm pretty blas√© about travelling around and some of the sights - but for the kids, used to the Shires as they are, this was a real treat.

We took in Covent Garden, the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, the Diana Memorial kids playground in Kensington Gardens and a meal at Bella Italia before catching a train home.  What's the point in telling you all that apart from the vain hope that by linking to them there may be some freebies in it for me?  Well, apart from the detail being vital in padding out this blog post beyond a paragraph, it helps to demonstrate the usefulness of Google on my mobile.

Being an Android owner (HTC Desire), my device came with a fair few Google services built in and those that weren't I soon installed.  So armed with the full suite of Search, Voice Search, Maps, Navigation, Translate, Goggles and Street View (and a good 3G connection of course) I was pretty much able to organise the day on the hoof.

Not sure what the opening hours for the museums were?  Thanks Google.
Not sure where the museums were and how to get there on the tube?  Thanks Google.
Not sure how to get to the playground?  Thanks Google.
Not sure where the nearest Bella Italia was (we had vouchers) and how to get there?  Thanks Google.
Not sure what times the train back ran?  Thanks Google.
And all that with only needing to put up with the odd advert here and there...

So come the end of the day, in addition to having a couple tired and happy kids, we avoided any of the usual friction points such as "where are we going?"; "are you sure this is the right way?"; "what do you mean it's closed?"; and "HOW LONG do we have to wait for the next train?".  And so we had a couple of tired and happy parents too!

I can't help but admire Google for the way that they produce apps and services that are fundamentally useful.  Yes, there are some misses along the way (Wave being a good example) but they find a way to produce hit after hit after hit.  Putting the mobile focus aside, what about Search, Gmail, Maps and Street View, Docs, Calendar etc. etc....?

Over at Mountain View they have certainly hit upon a formula for innovation and success.  And it's built around one thing - ADVERTISING.  Yes, there is the accumulation of user and location information, but that is all used in order to make the advertising more relevant (i.e. more useful to the consumer and costly for the advertiser).

So thanks for nailing it for me Google.  Oh, and well done on achieving near-omnipresence!

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