Not to single out Jeremiah, but in my Take5 interview with him, I asked him the following:
3) What do you make of Google's foray into security? We've seen them crawl sites and index malware. They've launched a security blog. They acquired GreenBorder. Do you see them as an emerging force to be reckoned with in the security space?
...to which he responded:
I doubt Google has plans to make this a direct revenue generating exercise. They are a platform for advertising, not a security company. The plan is probably to use the malware/solution research for building in better security in Google Toolbar for their users. That would seem to make the most sense. Google could monitor a user's surfing habits and protect them from their search results at the same time.
To be fair, this was a loaded question because my opinion is diametrically opposed to his. I believe Google *is* entering the security space and will do so in many vectors and it *will* be revenue generating.
This morning's news that Google is acquiring Postini for $625 Million dollars doesn't surprise me at all and I believe it proves the point.
In fact, I reckon that in the long term we'll see the evolution of the Google Toolbar morph into a much more intelligent and rich client-side security application proxy service whereby Google actually utilizes client-side security of the Toolbar paired with the GreenBorder browsing environment and tunnel/proxy all outgoing requests to GooglePOPs.
What's a GooglePOP?
These GooglePOPs (Google Point of Presence) will house large search and caching repositories that will -- in conjunction with services such as those from Postini -- provide a "clean pipes service to the consumer. Don't forget utility services that recent acquisitions such as GrandCentral and FeedBurner provide...it's too bad that eBay snatched up Skype...
Google will, in fact, become a monster ASP. Note that I said ASP and not ISP. ISP is a commoditized function. Serving applications and content as close to the user as possible is fantastic. So pair all the client side goodness with security functions AND add GoogleApps and you've got what amounts to a thin client version of the Internet.
Remember all those large sealed shipping containers (not unlike Sun's Project Blackbox) that Google is rumored to place strategically around the world -- in conjunction with their mega datacenters? I think it was Cringley who talked about this back in 2005:
In one of Google's underground parking garages in Mountain View ... in a secret area off-limits even to regular GoogleFolk, is a shipping container. But it isn't just any shipping container. This shipping container is a prototype data center.
Google hired a pair of very bright industrial designers to figure out how to cram the greatest number of CPUs, the most storage, memory and power support into a 20- or 40-foot box. We're talking about 5000 Opteron processors and 3.5 petabytes of disk storage that can be dropped-off overnight by a tractor-trailer rig.
The idea is to plant one of these puppies anywhere Google owns access to fiber, basically turning the entire Internet into a giant processing and storage grid.
Imagine that. Buy a ton of dark fiber, sprout hundreds of these PortaPOPs/GooglePOPs and you've got the Internet v3.0
Existing transit folks that aren't Yahoo/MSN will ultimately yield to the model because it will reduce their costs for service and they will basically pay Google to lease these services for resale back to their customers (with re-branding?) without the need to pay for all the expensive backhaul.
Your Internet will be served out of cache..."securely." So now instead of just harvesting your search queries, Google will have intimate knowledge of ALL of your browsing -- scratch that -- all of your network-based activity. This will provide for not only much more targeted ads, but also the potential for ad insertion, traffic prioritization to preferred Google advertisers all the while offering "protection" to the consumer.
SMB's and the average Joe consumers will be the first to embrace this as cost-based S^2aaS (Secure Software as a Service) becomes mainstream and this will then yield a trickle-up to the Enterprise and service providers as demand will pressure them into providing like levels of service...for free.
It's not all scary, but think about it...
Akamai ought to be worried. Yahoo and MSN should be worried. The ISP's of the world investing in clean pipes technologies ought to be worried (I've blogged about Clean Pipes here.)
Should you be worried? Methinks the privacy elements of all this will spur some very interesting discussions.
Talk amongst yourselves.