For end users, for IT managers and pretty much anyone who uses the Internet, Google has been the sine qua non of search engines. I started using when it appeared back in the late 1990s and have rarely found an occasion when it could be bested. It's been a few years now since Google joined Hoover and became a verb, such is its popularity.
And now, with the local desktop search engine, those advantages allow users to perform the same fast search on the mountains of stuff that pile up on their desktops and servers. But there's a potential impact on enterprise desktops, networks and servers too.
With search the core of what Google does, its latest announcement could easily have been predicted. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Google is to announce both a new service that allows users to purchase videos from content partners via its Web site, and a new bundled desktop software package. With video search part its remit, Google stands to make mega bucks, as Internet analyst Om Malik has noted. He reckons that: "unlike the text-ad business, the video business will be CPM based, and the company could get between $5 to $30 per 1,000 video ad impressions."
There will be an effect on the company's competitors such as Yahoo and Apple's iTunes, but that's good -- we like competition. But what's the bottom line for the enterprise network?
According to that WSJ piece, the company's bundled desktop software is likely to include video search, as well as a bundle of commercial, open source and shareware products such as Mozilla's Firefox browser, a version of Norton AntiVirus, RealNetworks' RealPlayer, Trillian instant-messaging software from Cerulean Studios and Lavasoft's Ad-Aware anti-spyware package.
What it effectively does is harness a new level of co-operation between a bunch of Microsoft's rivals. It's a straight spoiler for Microsoft's Windows Vista, due on a desktop somewhere near you sometime this year -- according to Microsoft's latest product release plans, anyway.
What does this mean for the IT manager? Firstly that there's a desktop bundle available that could save money when it comes to the next desktop refresh cycle. And secondly that users will, undoubtedly, download chunks of that suite and use it to search for video. It'll help make Web TV more accessible, raising its awareness among users.
There's likely to be an impact on enterprise servers and networks when they have to deal with the load of downloading vast volumes of time-sensitive streamed data. Not much, you might say, assuming you've got the overhead on the LAN. The WAN is unlikely to be as flexible.
Then, given that Google is also planning a standalone video client, users are also likely to want to store the videos they've downloaded -- on your servers. It's surprising how quickly disks fill up when dozens of multi-megabyte files get dumped on them. When people find information they like, they generally want to store it somewhere.
So even if you think you've got the next 18 months' storage, networking and server strategy sorted, you might have to revise your forecasts.