.Mac/Google mashup?

Business Week’s Arik Hesseldahl asks, could .Mac be moving to Google?

As with all such things, the question is rather over-simplistic. The Macalope doesn’t expect .Mac to be wholly replaced by Google. That’d make for some very angry parents who have their child’s entire life story on their .Mac account.

But .Mac is an anachronism in Apple’s product lineup. Kind of like eWorld was. Admittedly not the only one, but an overpriced and frequently criticized one that marks an unnecessary hole in Apple’s offering. Maybe it made sense for Apple to roll .Mac all by itself in the early aughts when there weren’t necessarily that many ways to easily get your Civil War reenactment group’s pictures onto the web from your Mac, but that’s not really the case anymore.

OK, Uncle Clive who plays the unkempt Confederate with the handlebar mustache in a felt cap and cape (no, the other unkempt Confederate with the handlebar mustache in a felt cap and cape) shouldn’t have to download some kind of utility before he can upload his pictures of 17 middle-aged bachelors attempting to reenact the entire battle of Appomattox, but Apple can handle that part by including the feature in Leopard.

At any rate, you shouldn’t bet anything other than Confederate currency that Apple won’t be updating .Mac next week. And why do it on their own?

Trackbacks Comments
  • Joe:

    While I don’t care about Uncle Clive there a few features of .Mac that aren’t anachronistic, such as bookmark/contact/keychain backup and syncing. If Apple leaves us syncing folks at the mercy of Google I’ll be upset.

  • John Muir:

    Now that you mention it, I think that Steve “Uncle Fester” Ballmer would make a fetching sergeant; his infamous misplaced passion and apparent imperviousness to embarrassment the ideal aides to his resolve as he leads his ragged men into the face of their steely, asthmatic and equally middle aged opponents. He’d probably want to play the Union, but what are the odds he wouldn’t rewrite history if made the other side? “I’m not quitting damn it, yankees! Your shots keep missin’ … yee haw!” “Just let him run around for a while,” says a womanly voice at the sidelines, “he’ll wear himself out in a while and then we can wake up Grant.”

    Oh, as for iMac / Google. Your hoof waving seems to be in the right direction. I don’t think Apple care for reinventing the hosting wheel, and taking on Google while they’re at it. No need for an MSN here thank you very much. But any change will need reverse compatibility. With a sweet little UI for the migration assistant, and obligatory tie-in with Apple’s latest kit.

    “Press play on your Apple TV remote and … BOOM … there went the artillery.”

  • monkyhead:

    Google stuff is ugly and lame. If Apple feels it needs to use their stuff in any serious capacity, I really hope they do the iPhone maps thing and take the ugly out as much as possible.

    Dotmac needs some fixerupperin’, but if they Googlify it all up, I might just hafta pull an unlikely textbook maneuver on their Little Round Top…

  • @Monkeyhead: couldn’t agree more. The Macalope thinks the iPhone maps program is the right analogy. Google brought the back end and Apple wrote the front end.

  • ignis fatuusz:

    In recent press opportunities, Steve has been saying things like “there are people out there who are better at things than we are, and we want to partner with those folks.” See both interviews at D5, for the most recent examples. This hints to me that Apple has recognized just how good Google is at the “cloud” stuff and that they’re partnering with Google on a lot more than just the iPhone. .Mac would be the perfect project for collaboration between the two. If *anyone* can add tremendous value to .mac, it’s going to be Google. If their engineers are on the project and are working with the usability / UI folks at Apple, then I’m sure we’re in for a treat, and .mac will have indeed “(made) up for lost time.”

  • Scott:

    There is an important difference between .Mac and Google: Ads. .Mac is about integration and convenience (while it’s a little expensive, I love having a rock-solid, never dissapear into the sunset or name changing @mac.com address); Google is about adware, cross-platform adware (read dumbed downed to Windoze level).

    If Apple thinks I’m going to pay $100 a year for ads with a Windoze interface, while some faceless mega-corporation keeps tabs on my data; they’ve got another thing coming.

  • RM:

    They would put .Mac (including @mac.com email) into Google in the same month that they tell every new iPhone user to sign up with Yahoo’s free push email service? That would be odd.

  • -joe:

    Just heard you on MacBreak Weekly. So glad to see your using WordPress.

  • Mike:

    “If Apple thinks I’m going to pay $100 a year for ads with a Windoze interface, while some faceless mega-corporation keeps tabs on my data; they’ve got another thing coming.”

    Where was it ever said that .Mac would continue to be $100/year?

  • Ignis Fatuusz:

    >>“If Apple thinks I’m going to pay $100 a year for ads with a Windoze interface, while some faceless mega-corporation keeps tabs on my data; they’ve got another thing coming.”

    >”Where was it ever said that .Mac would continue to be $100/year?”

    For that matter, where was it ever said that just because Google may be involved, that ads or Windows would be a part of the solution?

    My thoughts are more along the lines that Apple is basically subcontracting Google engineers to come up with some premium web functionality that Apple will host and integrate into the .mac service..

  • addicted:

    I think this is a fantastic idea. There are 3 ways apple could go about it though,

    1) .Mac is exactly like it is now, except with much better integration with Google products. So, for example, not only can you backup your calendars etc to .Mac (however, on Google’s servers, though you would be unaware of this), you could also set it to sync with Google Maps, so when on the rare occasion you are not on a mac, you can still access your calendars.

    2) Just replace .Mac with free ad supported Google services

    3) A choice of the above options.

    Personally, I think 1) is most likely. Not only will it keep most mac users happy, it will also make Google extremely happy. The problem Google faces, is that it is currently a one trick pony. It gets money from ads, and that is about it. Getting a share of .Mac’s subscription fees would help them diversify tremendously! Also, see how both GOOG and AAPL climb on news of revenue sharing between the 2 (and MSFT drop…) It also saves apple from wasting time on something they are not good at (backend Internet data services..see .Mac) and hands it over to someone who is amazing at this stuff.

    Win-Win-Win anyone?

  • Scott:

    “For that matter, where was it ever said that just because Google may be involved, that ads or Windows would be a part of the solution?”

    Because that’s what Google’s entire business is centered around and how it makes all of it’s money?

  • Bergamot:

    Sure, Google is an ad company. Amazon is a book company*, and that doesn’t stop them from leasing out their excess capacity and intellectual property.

    Google could easily handle the backend for email, webdav hosting, and PIM syncing, in exchange for some of the membership fees. Apple writes .mac-branded web frontends, and maintains existing application integration in Finder, Address Book, Mail, etc. Everybody wins.

    Of course, they could easily do the same thing with Yahoo, so other than a general Youtube-fueled hunch, there’s not much to base this on. I give it maybe a 50% chance.

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