At the end of 2001 I wrote up my thoughts on Online Community Technologies. I’ve learned a lot since I wrote this piece but the basic concepts I outlined stay true. Most importantly I wrote:
The killer app of the Internet is email. That’s been repeated by so many people that it’s hard to dispute. Now, take a look at all of the above examples and how they contribute to the concept of online community. What is Google missing? What is Yahoo missing? If Google ever gets into the business of archiving mailing lists so they are searchable (especially if they spam-proof them, like Yahoo does). Can you imagine being able to search the Web, all of your mailing lists, an image directory, and newsgroups all from one place? Google is poised to be the mother of all online communities, by becoming the multi-linked hub between communities.
Now that Google is launching their own web-based email service, will it be very long before they start offering mailing lists and other components that make up the core of online community tools? If you look at their offerings over the years and watch their acquisitions, you’ll see that they are increasingly moving into this space. It’s interesting to also look at this trend as a possible lead-up to their impending IPO.
Posted by Cameron Barrett at April 1, 2004 10:43 AM