Google: Right on Schedule

I've come to believe that Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) is the next Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) . Here's why: Google is the best copycat in the business -- far better than Microsoft ever was.

Think about it: Almost nothing in Google's arsenal of tools is a new idea. It just takes old ideas and makes them better. Let's run down the list, shall we?

Product

Innovator

Blogger

Xanga

Gmail

Hotmail

Google Groups

Usenet

Google Talk

ICQ

Google Maps

Mapquest

AdWords

Overture



Now, how about Microsoft?

Product

Innovator

MS-DOS

CP/M

Windows

Mac OS

Office

Lotus Notes

Internet Explorer

Netscape Navigator



As of late last week, you could add Google Calendar to the list of copycat innovations now being brought to you by Sergey and Larry. Like the rest, this tool is very functional, with a clean design and huge potential upside. How much upside depends on the creativity of Google's engineers.

I'll get into that in a few minutes. First, let's look under the hood. Google Calendar, like Google Finance, offers users a very quick way to manage their schedules. Entering data is easy, too. For example, a function called "Quick Add" allows you to use natural language to enter an appointment. I tried it for booking a beer with a buddy of mine last night. All I entered was my friend's name, the location, and the time "at 7 p.m." Google Calendar then created the entry and placed it in the appropriate slot. Sweet.

Though this is hardly the first online calendaring tool -- it's been possible to publish Outlook calendars over the Web for years now -- this one harbors some interesting possibilities. At the top of the list: integration with other Google services -- Gmail for meeting invites, for example. Even more interesting, however, is the natural-language function tied to meeting location. It's hardly precise, but after I entered the town and state for the eatery we'd be at, Google Maps brought up several choices, including our intended destination. Again, sweet.

Future integrations could include posting live phone links in calendar records, thereby allowing users to dial meeting participants or event locations with one click, a la Skype. (Surely Google Talk could facilitate this, right?) And then there's the possibility of targeted ads. Let's say you travel a fair amount and your calendar includes flight arrangements and hotel bookings. Google could display Expedia pitches every time you enter an out-of-town meeting in your digital date book.

Here's the point: Google Calendar may look like a calendaring tool. The truth is that it's much more. It's another way for Google to tie together services into a portal, which offers more opportunity to collect valuable user data, and which means an even better advertising platform.

That's the white-shoe Madison Avenue crowd looking over your shoulder, Fool. They're wondering whether you're free for lunch.

Perhaps you're also free for related Foolishness?

High-tech. Biotech. Nanotech. Any tech. David Gardner and his Foolish band of analysts cover it all forMotley Fool Rule Breakers, and they're walloping the market's average return by more than 20% as of this writing. Find out which stocks are powering the portfolio by asking us for a30-day all-access passto Rule Breakers. All you have to lose is the prospect of richer returns.

Microsoft is aMotley Fool Inside Valuerecommendation.

Fool contributorTim Beyersis frightened by how many Google tools he actually uses. Tim didn't owns shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. You can find out what is in his portfolio by checking Tim's Foolprofile. The Motley Fool has an ironcladdisclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 512867, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/17/2014 1:35:30 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement