A Googlers "Jerry Maguire" Moment


Sifting through some posts on Valleywag tonight, I clicked on a link to the Google Blog and read a long (over 4,000 words…) post from Google’s SVP of Product Development, Jonathan Rosenberg.

It is quite a read – not because of it’s length, but because it sheds some light on the attitudes and beliefs within one of the most important web companies in the world. It’s a piece about the future – of the internet, how data will be used to customize content and help people make informed decisions – and of course – how Google will be at the center of everything.

One of my favorite parts (that won’t seem like a new concept if you are in digital) is when Rosenberg describes his ideal online news experience:

“This is a problem, but since online journalism is still in its relative infancy it’s one that can be solved (we’re technology optimists, remember?). The experience of consuming news on the web today fails to take full advantage of the power of technology. It doesn’t understand what users want in order to give them what they need. When I go to a site like the New York Times or the San Jose Mercury, it should know what I am interested in and what has changed since my last visit. If I read the story on the US stimulus package only six hours ago, then just show me the updates the reporter has filed since then (and the most interesting responses from readers, bloggers, or other sources). If Thomas Friedman has filed a column since I last checked, tell me that on the front page. Beyond that, present to me a front page rich with interesting content selected by smart editors, customized based on my reading habits (tracked with my permission). Browsing a newspaper is rewarding and serendipitous, and doing it online should be even better. This will not by itself solve the newspapers’ business problems, but our heritage suggests that creating a superior user experience is the best place to start.

A big part about the Second Digital Decade (to steal a recent Bill Gates term) is about sites and experiences that are tailored to individual users. With emerging platforms like Facebook Connect and OpenID becoming more mainstream, this is going to occur extremely quickly. And it’s something that I’m immensely excited for – as a user and communicator.

Although the article is dripping with Google “we are the best” themes, it does provide a perspective into the future from a company that makes their living off being futuristic – from developing tools that, in the end, make our individual experiences better.

A must read.

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