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When Google rules the Web what will you do?

This is an old posting that's been sitting in draft for ages but somehow it never leaves the back of my mind.

Have you read When Being a Verb is Not Enough: Google wants to be YOUR Internet - quite some theory followed by a some interesting comments.

After reading the intense article I was left with a queasy feeling of being an extra in a Matrix type movie - something slightly sinister, very large yet possibly for the benefit of all was happening behind some closed doors in a land far away which could (would) possibly affect me.

However, I do applaud Google's higher echelons for thinking big. They seem to think 'global', they think 'all encompassing' and definitely think 'everyone' as a matter of course and not, as other (most) organisations do, merely 'USA', 'us' or 'corporate users' . It's a wee bit like learning that the Chinese government have a rolling multi decade plan and are thinking on a whole different plane to the rest.

Google also think beyond the computer (the tool that they use) and know that the power and dollars come with understanding information - they understand that it not only needs to be available, findable but usable. And usable in more than the "show me a map because it's an address" - that's easy. Google understands that information is connected, related and intertwined in infinite ways and that the company that is able to untangle that knot for you at a particular moment will be king ("relevancy").

And is this a public service to mankind - no, it's not. The fact that you will be able to find the apple pie recipe favoured in the Highlands of Scotland by typing "what should I eat" when you're on an apple diet visiting Great Uncle Hamish in Inverness is a by-product.
With this "relevancy" they can then increase their ability to sell you stuff. Stuff you might, really, actually, probably want and that's manna from heaven for those that have the stuff to sell to you. For this ability these people will pay the company that sort out "relevancy" almost anything Google (oops, I mean 'the company') wants.

Back to the article and matt@matt left this comment:
All that Microsoft has to do is come up with search technology that is roughly comparable to Google's, and they will easily be able to compete. As Google's CEO is wise to recognize, they are only one click away from losing most of their user base.
I think that he is close with the weakness of Google. It's not that Microsoft can come up with a better search engine as it cannot (see Brand X vs. Brand Y: Social Effects and Competition in the Software Indistry (sic) [and this and this] for details of why I think this) but that Google play in a much more democratic playing field than any other previous "kings of the hill". Search may be how some of us start our daily info trawlings this year but who knows what will come out of the screen (mobile, PDA, TV ...) tomorrow and that's the "one click away" Google have to be on the look out for.

And finally, to both the article to "relevancy" I quote the articles final line:
It's a grand plan, but can Google pull it off? Yes they can.


If you've not clicked away already then now's ya chance: When Being a Verb is Not Enough: Google wants to be YOUR Internet.

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