As people have long suspected, Google is working on an online calendaring application that will tightly integrate into Gmail. It is called CL2 and there are some people beta testing it already. A couple of days ago TechCrunch had the exclusive of posting the first screenshots. It looks very nice and very Gmail-ish.
The expectation is that it will take a while until it’s ready for the public, but when it is I’m absolutely going to give it a shot. Until that time I’ll keep using 30 Boxes, which works great for me. I’ve been using it for a month or so for all my meetings and I love how easy it is to add appointments. And they add new features almost every week. On the CL2 screenshots I can see that it will offer similar features. Very cool.
A couple months ago it was already rumoured that Google was working on a calendaring application, which would of course blow the competition away (which was mainly Yahoo), like they did with Gmail. So what did people do? They started companies that build calendaring software. The expectation is that Yahoo will do what they did before, they’d realise they were beaten by Google and would buy one of the competing products, just like they bought OddPost when Gmail came out. Many of these startups are not building calendaring applications, they’re building companies to be bought by Yahoo.
Anyway, Yahoo is not the only companies that likes to acquire other companies of course, Google enjoys itself (herself?) too. They have recently acquired Writely, a startup that is working on an online word processor. I worked with it for a bit a couple of months ago and it works pretty well. You can use it to work with multiple people on the same document. Sign-ups are closed for the moment, to prevent the system from falling over because of the massive number of people that want to try it now it’s part of Google (and therefore it must be good). So if you hadn’t signed up earlier, too bad, you’ll have to wait. Not me though, I got an account already. Want to have it? No, sorry, I’m keeping it to myself. If you wanted it so badly you should’ve realised Writely’s potential earlier, like I did. ;)
Interesting thing is that Writely has been implemented using Microsoft .NET. I wonder what they’ll do with that, although, come to think of it Orkut, also from Google, is a .NET product as well, so there is some experience with that inside Google.
And then Amazon’s answer to the rumours that Google is going to launch a storage system soon (dubbed GDrive by bloggers): S3, Amazon’s Simple Storage System. A webservice that allows you to store files at affordable rates. When I say webservice I mean exactly that, you need to use SOAP or REST webservices to upload and retrieve files. Probably useful for developers of enterprise software, but I don’t think the target audience of this is you, the consumer. But we’ll see. Personally I expect that Google’s service, if it ever really launched, will be free.
And then the last thing. Look at this:
That’s right, I’m working on a Google killer. It is a well-known fact that the people at Google are wimps and their so-called “search engine” is nothing more than a couple of PHP scripts slapped together with a MySQL back-end. If somebody sneezes too hard the whole system breaks down. That’s why I wrote the ultimate Google killer search engine today, called Zengine. It only searches ZefHemel.com now, but that’s only to give the people at Google some more time before I completely crush them.
So Google, this is my proposition: $10 million and Zengine is yours. Let’s say I’m in a generous mood today.