I know they’re improving Maps at an alarming rate; My Maps, full-screen (hide directions), traffic, street view, drag to re-route directions, and so forth. And that’s just in the past few months, in one application. Gears is also significant because it promises to bridge the off-line gap, the so-called airplane problem. They’re supposedly acquiring Grand Central, which I think is very smart. They just released the desktop for Linux, which is also great. And they’re doing something important, which I don’t understand, with package management; but Stephen O’Grady tells me it is, so it is.
But here’s why, today, I think Google’s great, and it cost me two bucks. My five year old was looking forward to watching a show (“FETCH! With Ruff Ruffman,” whose appeal escapes me) this afternoon on PBS. But it turns out that since we only have old-fashioned over-the-air analog television — which is practically a war crime, I know — that particular show wasn’t on at the promised time. I assume he saw an ad for some PBS cable channel. Anyway, it was his television for the day and he was bitterly disappointed. Sobbing.
Google to the rescue. First, I tried going to the PBS website, but they only had lame games and, frustratingly, trailers for the show. YouTube, nothing. But a quick Google search offered me the entire first season in the Google Video Player (soon to be deprecated in favor of YouTube?) for $1.99/episode. So I got 29 minutes of relief from child care on a Sunday afternoon and Google got my undying gratitude.