I am in the unfortunate position of running several OSes. I say unfortunately because synchronizing my work amongst Linux, OsX and MSWin is cumbersome and sometimes just boring. I have come to the belated conclusion that Google got it right, some time back, by offering users off-site or off-computer storage. So, now I am doing what millions are doing: moving all my docs to my Google account. What will I do when Google goes belly up or worse still, decides to charge me for its services?
No worries! … yet. I may do what many will also do – buy a Nokia Communicator, and go back to running my own server – at home. After all, with my Communicator I can do what we will all be doing in the near future: get to my data, anywhere.
But who am I fooling? The truth is I hate running my own server. How many can run their own server? This is what Google counts on. However, it is not enough that Google hosts my data. It is missing one important technology link in its attempt to conquer the world. Nokia has this link.
Nokia, my former employer and contracting partner, is doing what Google is doing but from another end of the wire: it is offering every individual complete freedom from wires. The problem which Nokia has solved and Google is yet to solve is the wire-wireless divide. It is one thing to offer Gigs of hard drive space to me but it i s another for me to access my data, even when I cycling somewhere in southern Mexico, far from a library or an Internet connection. (Note 1) This is the edge.
One cannot say that it is Nokia alone which has created this edge but it is true that Nokia was and has been instrumental in getting wireless technology implanted in the most remote locations in the world. It is with thanks to this ubiqutous technology that everyone and anyone can talk to anyone else, anytime, from almost anywhere. Ask Osama bin Laden. What is salient is that Nokia will give me the tools to access the data which Google is hosting.
Am I not comparing apples or oranges? These two companies use two very different marketing and commercial models. Surely their objectives are different. The first is that their objectives are the same: to make as much money as possible. The fact is that the lines are blurring and sooner or later, Google’s model will be usurped because Nokia will come up with a catchy, cutsy, off-the-wall name for a service which the boffins in Espoo are this very moment hatching. It will attract us – like flies to a cow pat. Google will be nobbled just as it nobbled Yahoo.
To meet its objective of conquering the world, Nokia announced yesterday that it has bought NavTeq for cool 8.1 billion € or 10 thousand million US dollars or .. a lot of money. This is only one in a slew of half a dozen buy-outs in the past year.
Why did it do this? To meet customer expectations that Google and other Internet companies have created by allowing off-site blogs, satellite pics, photoalbums and everything mankind can do with all the new-fangled electronic, digital, wireless, wired gadgets popping up every few weeks – usually from the "un-inventive" Chnese and Japanese minds. Lest we take our patronizing throw away remarks to be the truth, we should appreciate that two factors point out that Nokia is making the right moves and Google is not (yet). One: the world is urbanizing at a alarming rate. Two: although the poverty gap is wide, a computer in every pot, everywhere (except Afghanistan), will be a reality in five years time. This means that we can forget about the tera, peta and exabytes and jump right to the yottabytes. Where will we put all of our inconsequential octets in the future? In Googles servers? How? With our wired Nokia devices, of course.
Nokia is aiming very high. Whereas Karimo was aiming to get Nokia out of its wellies and into tranistors, the new Nokia chief, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, will position Nokia into one of the top five companies in the world. Wherefrom will this business come? From a goggle-eyed Google, of course. From you, the google generation.(1)
(1) Lest you think that Nokia has forgotten that mobile phones are for making calls, then watch out when it buys Skype and then gives us the opportunity to call each other, anywhere in the world, for local mobile phone rates.