Monday, March 1, 2010

Why Google's Acquisition Announcement today is HUGE (Updated)

I can't ever remember a year where 'sparring product and /or acquisition announcements' have come so frequently as they have from tech competitors Google, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook over the past 6 months.

Earlier today Google announced the acquisition of Picnik, an online photo editing service, perhaps  best-known for their inline implementation on Yahoo!-owned photo sharing service Flickr.

I have always felt that Google's growth strategy appears to be (1) keeping the search index the most relevant possible first (no easy task), and then (2) taking as many 'shots' as possible, some measured, and some not so measured, at the broader tech space ... to see what works, both quickly and over the long haul.

In recent months, many of Google's products started 'talking to each other' creating an ecosystem, that, for all intents and purposes, one could 'live in' without leaving.

Many of the company's products such as Google's (Flickr competitor) Picasaweb (which holds this blogs images by default because it's on Blogger ... a Google property .... get it??) are already small social networks within themselves.

Since the earlier announcement, many have tried to dissect what's next or lend commentary.

This is what TechMeMe looked like as I write this ...

For a change's important I think to point out, TechMeMe is where I first found out about the deal. Long overdue kudos to Gabe Rivera and his growing team.  TechMeMe is providing a very valuable service to many of us and is still, very much relevant.

I found Thomas Hawk's piece particularly interesting as a well-known web photographer.  Thomas has also been an avid Google Buzz user since the start.

So what are we actually looking at here?

It's interesting that a day or two ago, Louis Gray described his 'life in the cloud' since acquiring a new laptop and turning to his older Mac box when he needed to use Photoshop?  Hmmm.

Is this a shot at Adobe?  You bet.  It's a strategic shot at Adobe and Apple in a measured move, in an important component in the upcoming Chrome OS and the continuation of tying Google services together.

Think about this.

If Google decides to make Picnik totally FREE, this landscape changes overnight.

I'm guessing not only will this happen, but the spaces in the Google ecosystem where Picnik is deployed will simply be monetized by DoubleClick and Google Adwords.

Does this make them evil?

No.  It makes them smart ..... and in this environment .... very smart.

Google very simply just bought a piece of the future.

What's next?  Look for Google Chat to be integrated with Google Voice as a competitor of sorts to Skype.  Just a guess ... We'll see?

Whatever IS next, there's nobody that can say this hasn't been an exciting and game-changing year in tech.  I'm thinkin' it's just the beginning.

Updated for content / links Mar 1, 2010 10 PM ET