Google's march to povide all the function most of us require continues. They've given us the search capability that most of us use, even on our desktops. They provide email services and instant messaging (IM). They will archive our photographs and home movies. They're moving into document authoring (they purchased writely), their calendar support is available in beta form, and they're moving into providing spreadsheet capability. In short they have done a good deal of the work required to duplicate the services most of us look for when we use Windows. The obvoius difference is that while the services we get with Windows are installed on our system and used behind our firewall Google's services are all offered via the internet and when you use a google service the data you create or move sits on google servers somewhere. Clearly we already trust google and those providing us with connectivity to it with a great deal.
So where's the question ... ok here it is ... if google were to offer a replacement for Quicken or Money would you use it?
Building towards higher level services such as financial packages seems a logical step for Google. It builds on the basic foundation they have created already and lets them offer other companies an avenue to provide an entirely new set of value add services.
Imagine where they'd go building on a basic financial application. Google Finance would help you build a financial plan for your home or small business. It would help you develop a budget, project income and expense, and manage your bank accounts, investments, credit cards, loans, and mortgages. It would give you basic advice on how to save more money. Google would provide integration with banks, credit card companies, etc. so you can keep account information up to date, pay bills, transfer funds, etc. with a minimum of effort. All that's not new ... but consider these points:
- As is the case with gmail and other google services you be able to access your financial information from anywhere. That's handy.
- As is the case with google calendaring you would be able to share access to parts of your information with your wife/husband and work on it together. You would be able to co-manage your childrens bank accounts and monitor their spending. You would also be able to share it with specific people working for the company that gives you financial advice, your retirement fund manager, and your accountant. These professionals would be able to advertise their services, give you financial advice, and even make changes to investments if you've permitted them. In short there's now a group of people collaborating to manage your finances, with Google working to identify and deal with any technical hindrances. Now THAT IS COOL!
- You'd be able to submit your income tax via Google Finance, and you might be able to do it more than once a year since there's benefit to everyone in supporting that provided Google makes it simple.
There's an endless list of value Google can offer people by providing integrated access to services and the data those services access and manipulate.
But would you trust google with your financial data?