I’ve been feeling very much in the minority this week. First off, Google launched their new Street View. By and large, the tech community seems to love it. Me, I feel very, very uncomfortable that someone can sit at their leisure at their desk, call up a highly detailed photo of the outside of my home, and view it from any number of different angles, all without having to be on the scene. But clearly, I’m missing something, because just about everyone else seems to think it’s uber-cool, or at the very least, slick.
Now, Google is introducing Google Gears, and I am similarly unimpressed. Off-line access to web-based apps is one of the big issues for web-based computing, and it was only a matter of time before someone filled that rather obvious gap. However, solving that problem only brings another one into focus — web based apps don’t have even a remotely comparable feature set as their desktop-based rivals in some rather vital areas. Sure, it’s great that your feed reader will work on an airplane, but Google Docs is not even close to being a good replacement for MS Word.
And this brings me back to some comments I made about Web 2.0 just last month:
What I would really love to see is people spending all that time, talent, and money on solving the problems that have NOT been solved yet. Search technology, for example. We’ve made some big strides in text-based search (although there is still much to do there too), but searching around graphics, video, or audio is lagging far behind. Or if you want to focus on web-based technology, can someone please come up with a cross-platform web conferencing system that doesn’t suck?
Maybe I need an attitude adjustment, or just a vacation.
Or maybe not. Maybe I’m right, and we need new solutions to new problems much more than we need more solutions to problems that have already been solved.