What will kill Google? I surely don’t think they will dominate the Internet forever, and I think anyone who does is ignoring history. There’s an interesting thread about this very topic over at Skrentablog, with some interesting comments as well. Here’s my take.
Most importantly, I do not believe that KILLing Google will involve BEATing Google. Things rarely shake out that way with established industries and products. Usually it’s something NEW, and I think that will be the case here. The thing that eventually ends up dethroning Google as the most important company on the Internet will not do what Google does, it will do something else.
Google’s foothold in search is insurmountable, sorry. The one thing that you can’t ever compete against is their search history. Anyone from the enterprise world knows that your data is your competitive advantage, the crown jewels. Oh, they tease people by releasing little bits and pieces of it in products like Google Trends, and people get really excited because it lets us peek behind the curtain a little, but they make sure they cripple the data just enough so you could never do any serious analysis of it.
This data that Google has, it is almost certainly the most valuable data on earth. Just think about what you would know with access to it:
- Who is doing the searching (AOL kindly established that fact for us publicly)
- Who works where (“Latigent benefits”)
- What people who work where are looking for (“java developers”)
- What people within specific verticals are searching for (“better widgets”)
- What people who work at certain companies, or live in certain places, are interested in (“political corruption”)
And that’s just what I could come up with in 30 seconds. Doing personality profiling is an extremely potent tool and, as I’ve written about before, can probably identify things about you that you yourself aren’t consciously aware of—just by grouping you with people who search for similar things to you, and extrapolating their data patterns out to you (sorry, snowflake, you’re not really all THAT different from everyone else, nor am I). This all means that you will never beat them at their own game, they know too much about the market. But I digress, we are talking about Google killers, after all
So, what do I think will kill Google? That’s a good question. I can offer my opinion, but really it’ll just take time to sort that out. Not to dodge the question though, I believe it will be a decentralized interpersonal network sitting on top of the Internet with a two-way data flow between endpoints. Something completely different, which you will use in an entirely different way from a search engine. But if you’re looking search engines, I don’t think you’re going to beat Google.