Wednesday, March 9, 2005

It's Inevitable That They Will Become A Portal (They Need To Own The Login)

(Just posted the following at AlwaysOn) I came across this news from CNet,"Google personalizes news site":

Google began testing new customization features on its news aggregation site Wednesday in a salvo against competition from Microsoft.

Google News, still in its test or "beta" phase after launching in 2002, says it will let people specify what categories of news to display on the page, giving an array of choices including results chosen by keyword.

"We've made a number of improvements to Google News that allow you to customize your News front page by creating sections that focus on topics you care about, for instance, your favorite sports team, technology, or celebrity," reads a Google News page posted Wednesday. "You can also design your custom front page by mixing and matching existing standard sections from the 22 regional editions of Google News from around the globe."

I just tried it out. Simple layout. Multiple languages available. Nice. This new service along with their maps and other running "betas" all seem to be separate moving parts that eventually need to be aggregated into one place. Like Yahoo! or MyYahoo! or MSN. They eventually need to capture their audience in a more meaningful way and be a bit evil. The barrier for people to switch search engines is nil and their leadership in search is slowly falling. They need to make people sign into a universal login to access these personalized services and stay within the Google universe. I don't know if they have plans to, but if they don't they are being a bit naive.

Even for personalized news site, they assume or ask people to maintain their cookies:

How does Google News remember my settings?
The settings for your customized Google News page are stored on your computer. In order to save these custom sections, you need to have cookies enabled on your browser (more info about cookies).

How annoying would this be? I don't know about you, but I clear my browser of its cookies every few weeks. It would be annoying to set up a new news site everytime. Does Google think it's evil to have people login and create their own MyGoogle? Do they want to avoid the inevitable association or label of being a portal?

If it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, and walks like a duck, it's a duck. Quack.

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