Google (GOOG) CEO Eric Schmidt said yesterday on CNN an interesting view on their business:

“Hopefully we won’t repeat the mistakes that Microsoft made 10 years ago that ultimately led to all these things that happened to them.”

Some of these mistakes include a lot of anti-trust and monopolic actions, profit ploys gone awry ending in lawsuits, privacy failures, and refusal to cooperate with competitors. These, along with some instances of not-so-great software (looking in your direction, Vista), have tarnished Microsoft’s (MSFT) business.

Eric Schmidt is trying to portray Google as a Good Business. They’re not going to make the same mistakes as Microsoft: they’re going to be truthful and follow Don’t be Evil. They’re going to aim for transparency. Are they truthful about that, though?

Many businesses in the world, without lies and fraud, would be well out of business. This includes companies like Cash4Gold and MLM scams. So would a lot of financial institutions, if it weren’t for the bailout. I have a personal gripe on the bailout. Why? NASA 2009 budget is 17.2 billion. National Institutes of Health 2010 budget is $6 billion for cancer research. TARP: $700+ billion.

Good Business and Google

Good Business entails transparency. Mad, mad profits more likely than not entails some kind of fraud going on. Google says they’re going to forgo these mad profits—and fraud, for that matter—and focus on the customer. Making the customer the top priority is something that is—surprisingly, as well as irrationally—lost in some modern businesses.

And we’re seeing a lot of great strides from Google to this effect: Google Dashboard, a tool that allows Google Account users to see what kind of information is associated with their Google Account, was introduced on the Google Blog in an article called Transparency, choice and control — now complete with a Dashboard!

“Over the past 11 years, Google has focused on building innovative products for our users. Today, with hundreds of millions of people using those products around the world, we are very aware of the trust that you have placed in us, and our responsibility to protect your privacy and data.”

Or—Google’s Data Liberation Front: their homepage states their mission: “Users should be able to control the data they store in any of Google’s products. Our team’s goal is to make it easier to move data in and out.”

The risk is huge, too. It’s not just that Google participates in far fewer fraud than most businesses of similar influence. They take the risk of losing customers that realize how wide the gamut of knowledge Google knows about them. One notable example is Google Dashboard: many users responded with “wow—Google knows a lot about me. Should I be concerned?” And if they are—Google is making it that easy to check out of itself.

Others said that among the privacy issues and information issues Google has, the Google Dashboard is like British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s 1937 appeasement towards Nazi Germany: Google gives us a bit of what we want to see to make us think that they’re serious about their responsibility of protecting privacy and transparency, but in the long run they really, really want the data.

The great part about Google and Good Business? Customers get it. Customers appreciate the transparency, which makes it hurt just a bit less for Google on their balance sheet. In the long run, hopefully Good Business drives the following profit inequality: Bad Business < Business < Good Business.

Fantastic. One of the most important technology businesses is promoting Good Business through transparency and not being Evil. Google has its problems, and many, many instances that they have acted in an evil way. And whether this will hold for the next ten years is still up in the air. However, they’re taking a positive direction, and for a 10-year-old technology company with massive market share and massive influence, and massive profits and market capitalization, it’s pretty damn impressive.

Gist: Android 2.0 SDK released, Motorola Droid and HTC Droid Eris to launch on Verizon on Nov 6, as rumored by Boy Genius Report. Hardware has always been the bottleneck on Android, among other problems. The marketing by Verizon making Droid a serious mobile device for the alternative iPhone market as well as the excellent hardware on the Motorola Droid, and the polished Android 2.0 Eclair OS, will allow Android to become more mainstream.

Google (GOOG) has made official the new Android 2.0 SDK, which allows the new 2.0 “Eclair” APIs to be used in Android applications, including improved bluetooth, multitouch, sync, account management, and, of course, support for new Android 2.0 devices such as the Motorola Droid. The new SDK update is downloadable immediately. Android 2.0 official video is at the bottom of this article.

Leading mobile industry news and insider source Boy Genius Report reports that the Motorola Droid (MOT) and HTC Droid Eris (2498.TW), two new Android 2.0 Eclair devices, will hit the stores on November 6 on the Verizon Wireless (VZ) network.

The Droid devices, highly hyped by Verizon as the iPhone killer, has been the subject of quite a bit viral marketing and noise in the mobile industry. Earlier this month, Verizon launched a mysterious marketing page for the Motorola Droid at, a direct attack against the Apple (AAPL) iPhone device’s shortcomings.

I’ve recently moved from bearish to bullish on the Android platform. The first T-Mobile Android G1 device wasn’t polished and didn’t at the time seem like a viable competitor to the iPhone.

However, the Motorola Droid could be a huge development in the Android environment. Droid represents a serious advance in promoting Android as a serious device, built and supported by two serious mobile companies. The specs of the device (the same processor as the iPhone 3GS and the Palm Pre, large screen, full of memory, ready for backgrounding applications, and more delicious specs) will hold its claim to fame as the premier Android hardware.

The bottleneck to the proliferation of Android has partly been the hardware that it runs on. The G1’s hardware didn’t cut it, especially since Android and all Android applications operate on Java, which is a notoriously slow platform. (EDIT: No, it isn’t, I’m wrong; I had neglected to mention that the Android platform has a custom build of Java called Dalvik.) The other bottleneck is the App Store, which, although it will improve over time, the derivative of available applications needs to start getting better. And with the new SDK and excellent new Android 2.0 Eclair, we may be seeing real changes soon.

google_appsGist: Google gives campuses free, branded, ad-free usage of Google Apps, their cloud offering, familiarizing the students with the product, which will result in workplace purchases (which do generate revenue for Google.) They hold almost a 60% market share in campuses that recently migrated to cloud email and services options. Google’s smart in targeting campuses: they are also the perfect adoption point for Google Chrome OS.

Advertising Age recently profiled Google’s brilliant Cloud conversion plan targeting college campuses. It’s a fantastic article documenting how Google is going for wide adoption of their OS.

For more than two years, Google has approached colleges and universities with a near-unbeatable offer: provide unlimited hosted e-mail and other applications, all branded by the institution and delivered free of charge.

The colleges take the hook of using Google (GOOG) for replacing their IT infrastructure, and it gives an immense cost-benefit. AdAge says that Google signs up 70 to 75 campuses per quarter (!), an astounding rate, given how large of a market they have. With a total United States number of two-year and four-year colleges of approximately 4,000, Google’s cloud offering is gaining 2% market share each quarter (not to mention word-of-mouth marketing for a perhaps increasing derivative of market share gain.)

Indeed, Google already holds incredible market share in the campus cloud market, as the article quotes: “On campus, Google is making inroads. In its annual study of the role of technology on campus, the Campus Computing Project found that two-fifths of participating campuses had either migrated to outsourced e-mail and services or planned to. Of those, 56.5% opted for Google, 38.4% for Microsoft (MSFT) and 4.8% for Zimbra, an open-source software maker owned by Yahoo (YHOO).”

Not only does the campus receive free, branded, and ad-free email, calendar, and various other services from Google through the cloud, Google also gains three things. One, familiarity of students to the service. Two, and connected to one, future use of the Google cloud offerings on their own after college. Three, knowledge of this cloud service, and with a positive experience, this may transfer into the workplace which will allow Google to convert more business (profit-making) customers for their Google Apps cloud offering. (Interestingly, this is similar to why the piracy of Photoshop is beneficial for the application: users of Photoshop make their workplace aware of the positives of the software package, and the workplace purchase the application, generating revenue for Adobe (ADBE).)

Furthermore, these campuses are the perfect place to target for the adoption of Google Chrome OS. The cloud-only, thin-client offering (discussed here in Google Chrome OS: Google’s Master Plan) to run on netbooks is a perfect offering for college students running on the cheap: cheap netbooks, open-source software, Google Apps cloud including Google Docs, Google Calendar, Gmail, and all other university-branded solutions that are already available to them, and Amazon one-click delivery of ramen. Google is undoubtedly aware of campuses as the perfect adopter of Google Chrome OS, and they’re smart to target the campus at first for a can’t-say-no adoption offer for Google Apps.

Startup Takeaway: Although Google presents itself as an immovable market leader (and offering these services for free, even), take away the power of other methods of marketing. Google’s marketing play here is brilliant: target users from the ground up, by offering an exceptional service for a price that can’t be argued against (free). Find other sources of marketing that can be used to bring, primarily, awareness, and let the product follow through for a positive experience.

google_chrome_logoGist: Google is creating a thin client with their new netbook operating system Google Chrome OS, which will allow simple components to access Google’s services as applications. Google Chrome, as the base, is an already-advanced browser and web renderer. Google’s initiative may mean war with Microsoft: Google Chrome OS, developed enough, and with enough power to replace desktop applications, may replace the need for an OS as the powerhouse and instead put it in the cloud with Google services and clients being thin clients. Google may expand this to their Android handset system and then to many other interfaces.

Google Inc. (GOOG) announced their new initiative today, the Google Chrome OS. Based on the Google Chrome browser software, it is a light, mobile operating system for netbooks, due to be open-sourced Q4 2009, but due to release Q3-Q4 2010.

Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010. Because we’re already talking to partners about the project, and we’ll soon be working with the open source community, we wanted to share our vision now so everyone understands what we are trying to achieve.

Yeah. We know exactly what Google wants to achieve: the thin client. A thin client provides a view and an input, and general processing and memory; however, the data storage, crunching, and application serving is done from a third party source, accessible through the internet. Netbooks represented a large surge in the thin client idea, building primarily upon inexpensive Intel (INTC) Atom processors, cheap memory, portability, and in some cases open-source Linux distributions such as Ubuntu.

However, Google Chrome OS may not just be “just another Linux distro” to power notebooks: its very premise makes it be based on the idea of a thin client, completely. GCOS, built upon the (relatively) advanced Google Chrome browser, powered by Webkit, offers many advanced application-like parallels. Not only does it allow for the use of the Canvas HTML element for advanced drawing capabilities inside the browser, but local data storage and more.

We’ve already seen web technologies as an OS in action. We’ve seen them starting with Google using XMLHttpRequest in Suggest and Maps, with Adaptive Path’s Jesse James Garrett’s coining of Ajax, then the replacement of desktop apps with web-based ones with Meebo and Google Docs, and recently with the release of Palm Inc.’s (PALM) Palm Pre device, based on WebOS.

There’s actually some interesting foreshadowing in Jesse James Garrett’s early speculations into the power of Ajax:

The same simplicity that enabled the Web’s rapid proliferation also creates a gap between the experiences we can provide and the experiences users can get from a desktop application. … That gap is closing. Take a look at Google Suggest… Now look at Google Maps. Google Suggest and Google Maps are two examples of a new approach to web applications that we at Adaptive Path have been calling Ajax.

Google will nearly eliminate the OS itself. Most of what people want in an OS can happen in a browser. Google has documents and collaboration down with Google Docs. Search down with Google itself, and Google Desktop for local search. Email and chat through Gmail. In the future, organization communications through Google Wave. Calendar and tasks through Google Calendar. Google has created the ultimate thin client system that allows for the browser to take over the OS.

Google’s master plan extends into the integration of the browser into the OS. Google might wage a war of the OS: not with Windows vs. Linux, but Windows vs. the Web OS. Google notes that current “operating systems that browsers run on were designed in an era where there was no web.” Apparently—the current operating systems aren’t enough for the future. Supplementation of the web with the OS is not enough. The OS must be immersed with the web.

And Google wishes to spearhead that immersion. That immersion will primarily be in the form of a thin client, with everything handled on the cloud, the client acting as solely a view of information and an input point. Through this, Google can essentially build this thin client interface into multiple points in reality, not the least being their mobile operating system Android.

Google is going down to the hardware and integrating the user’s own system with Google. And in the future, their mobile phones, and soon, perhaps a huge portion of their technological experience.

Disclosure: Mark Bao is the CEO of Avecora, an early-stage communications integration and consumer electronics firm.