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Trolling through the 2004 annual report that Google filed today, we notice that the search company has a new subsidiary, Zipdash Inc. As far as we can tell, this is a previously undisclosed acquisition. What is more, it apparently happened fairly recently, since the Palo Alto company was not listed as a subsidiary when Google filed to go public last summer. Also, the New York Times profiled the company in March 2004 and made no mention of Google. We've asked Google for more information, but have not heard back yet. So what does Zipdash do (or did, if they've been wholly swallowed by Google)? According to the company's web site, it "tackles highway congestion by providing individuals with real-time, accurate traffic information." Some of the technology is/was intended to allow mobile phone users get real time traffic info using GPS. Here's another story. And here's an example of how the technology looks on the Web, which we found on the Web site of a blogger who happens to work at Google. This looks somewhat similar to a feature that Yahoo recently started offering.
It's becoming clear that by "information", Google means a lot more than words on web pages.
A physicist or philosopher might argue that *everything* is, in fact, information. So where is Google drawing the line?
Obviously Google is trying to reposition itself not just as a search company but an integrated information company.
With this latest article, it makes me think that they are trying to do it without doing what other companies do which is partner with other companies. It seems they want to be masters of all information -- as long as that information is publicly available (web page search, traffic info, news aggregation, maps, local business info, product information and pricing, etc.).