The Google Operating System blog has an interesting meditation on the downside of life without Google — which of course begs for a rebuttal speculating on the UPSIDE of life without Google (Garret Rogers also has a point-by-point response):

  • our mail account would still have 2MB or 4MB of storage and we would be happy about that.

And we’d all be more disciplined about deleting email — my Gmail-driven never-delete approach to email has my corporate Outlook always on the verge of collapse.

  • we would find a mail by manually reviewing each subject and sender.

Or maybe someone would have invented an email search app that works with ANY email program, so we wouldn’t be locked into Gmail and it’s never-ending stream of ads — and/or someone might have developed a killer email app that was so good we’d be willing to pay for it.

  • we would pay for software like Picasa, Keyhole (now Google Earth), Sketchup.

And maybe it would be well worth it, because the independent owners of those apps would have been forced to innovate at a rapid pace to earn our money — instead, Google can let its apps languish until they’re ready to throw up AdWords.

  • many startups would not exist without Google AdSense, so there would be less innovation.

Or maybe there wouldn’t be such a bubble in Web 2.0 start-ups with so many me-too apps, because developers would be forced to think more about business models and REAL innovation — without the crutch of AdSense cash, business model innovation might actually keep pace with application innovation.

  • our homepage would be a portal, or about:blank.

Google isn’t my homepage — it’s the New York Times, because I actually like information about what’s going on in the world pushed TO me. I’m not always looking for something, and I don’t always know what it is I need to know when I go online.

  • our search engines would be cluttered, would mix ads with organic results and wouldn’t care about the users.

AdWords does not really care about users — “relevance” is only a variable in the equation to drive more clicks and thus more revenue.

  • we would think beta software is just for the testers and it’s dangerous.

We might also expect beta software to get off its ass and out of beta in less than three years.

  • technology news would be less exciting.

We might also have something to talk about OTHER than Google, which sucks up all the air in the room every time they write a line of code.

I, for one, would have time to devote to other targets for iconoclastic rants — like MySpace. Although…I guess from that perspective, Google isn’t such a bad thing.