Apocalypse Now: Google Style

I’m not sure you read about it yet, but Silicon Alley Insider is calling Google the next Yahoo! Thats a big statement, given $GOOG share of the search market in the US, and the monolithic business they’ve built in advertising across search, display and offline advertising:

More stats can be found here. If you recall, prior to Google, the market share was similar (1999), with Yahoo! in the driver’s seat…

Now that is really where the comparison ends… Google’s search engine is flawed and the SEO game has been exploited by all kinds of businesses, but this is a company that seems to be far more shrewd that Yahoo! was back in 1999. Google has been moving from strength to strength, enhancing its cloud offerings for both consumer and business, building the Android mobile phone platform, and building proprietary database assets like Google Maps, News. Analytics. The company also seems to have a smart growth engine, based on acquisition of top-quality talent through the startup scene, resulting in interested tie-in products, like Google Voice.

Additionally, the market has been frothy around Google killers for some time now – anyone remember Cuil?

Google is default on the Android platform (which is set to explode in 2011) and on a large portion of desktops and laptops these days. As Microsoft is well-aware, that control at the OEM level is hard to beat. That same sort of dominance can also be attributed to Internet Explorer over the last 10 years – a browser that was clearly not as innovative as Mozilla/Opera/Chrome/Safari still dominated the market each quarter and each year.

The big concern for Google is a double-whammy, namely Microsoft Bing making a technology jump and leveraging $MSFT cash to push Bing to default on devices across the world – as they did with IE. Bing has made some serious moves on the innovation side, taking the Google playbook for ‘search apps’ like Finance, Amazon or Twitter, within search results, but going after interesting verticals using proprietary technology (think Travel, which leverages Farecast technology). They’ve got the muscle and cash to compete, but its hard to see that happen.

Of course, the market is looking for another Google to pop out a garage in Palo Alto (or a loft in New York or Austin). Alas, that seems very unlikely, given the stacked nature of the game – $GOOG and $MSFT cash on hand, its unlikely that private cash can move the next big thing past these behemoths .

Finally, is the need actually as real as TechCrunch would like to think it is? Remember, when Google came onto the scene, there was legitimate anger over the inaccuracy of search engines (I used to use at least 3 engines in doing any search, and the results varied greatly). Today, a user generally uses Google or Bing for web search, and that’s it – Facebook and Twitter search are also becoming more common, but neither claim to cover the entire web. When we think about Hunch or Quora, they are also attempting to build social graph tools that cover a portion, but not the entirety of the web. Blekko is the only site I’ve heard of as a legitimate threat, but after some use this wknd, i’m just not sure its there yet…

Will TechCrunch and Silicon Alley Insider be right on this one, or are they overhyping an issue that may not actually be there, to make a bold prediction for the new year? Needless to say, it’ll make for an interesting 2011…

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by tamiror. tamiror said: RT @weissben: New post: http://stk.ly/fRBR38 Apocalypse Now: Google Style, covering $GOOG, $MSFT, $BLEKKO, $YHOO […]