Amazed That Google Can Be That Dominant and Still Not Guaranteed a Future

http://blog.craigslist.org/2008/04/craigslist-search/

(Expanded release here: http://tinyurl.com/627lza)

Was looking over the information on a post about March search rankings at the Craigslist blog and was struck by two things:

1) Google and its related sites dominate the competition to an unquestionable degree

2) Despite that there is still no guarantee that they will remain a leader in a couple of years (or even still be around for that matter)

I’m not going to pretend to be a web expert nor will I delude myself into thinking that there aren’t a massive amount of individuals out there who posses a great deal more knowledge on the myriad of facts and figures that are needed to accurately predict the viability of a tech company. What I do know is that I am a consumer of these very technologies and I believe that my attitudes towards sites like Google, Msoft, Yahoo and others are largely in sync with the millions of other users out there.

What is so fascinating to me about the point in technological history at which we currently exist is that, unlike times past, the rapidity with which information is diffused and the ease with which one piece of web-based technology can be left behind for another has created an atmosphere of staggering unpredictability.

In the old economy (much of which is still in existence), you struggled to build a brand with the confidence that, once built, your base of consumers would continue to use your product (or service as the case may be) so long as you didn’t royally screw it up.

A friend of mine thought I was an idiot when, during an argument I stated that Google has not yet made it to a place where their long-term existence was guaranteed. Maybe he is right – all I know is that, as much as I love Google, if I found out about a new search engine that provided me with better results and an interface and level of tweakability that matched or bested what I currently use – my start page would change in an instant.

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2 Responses to “Amazed That Google Can Be That Dominant and Still Not Guaranteed a Future”

  1. Dinwoody Says:

    After some reflection, and despite my predilection for a belief that maket barriers have grown so high as to choke innovation, I must agree with Maximus. The sheer ease with which consumers may “jump ship” in an information driven economy, seems to break down the old mega-company vertically integrated model of product tying. But I do have a slight critique of Maximus’s reasoning. It presupposes a lack of a response from Google. I would posit that Google has enough entrenched branding (and money) that given astute management it would have time to effectively respond to a change in consumer tastes, either through buying up the competitor (YouTube) or developing its own responsive app. While the speckter of Maximus jumping ship at the first sign of a better application seems logical, that act defies long held preference theory (QWERTY, Budwiser (sick), american cheese—all inferior products, and yet, we still use ’em). As noted above, those preference barriers are significantly lower in this economy than ever before, but dont for a minute think that a better product will always win out “in an instant.”

  2. aureliusmaximus Says:

    lol din –

    forgive me if I made it sound as if Google’s fate was sealed. I don’t believe that to be the case BUT I do think there are other factors at play that make it difficult for them to adjust as quickly as you (rightly) indicate they will need to in order to maintain their lofty perch.

    I believe that, like any company that has experienced massive and rapid growth, it is getting harder and harder for them to maintain the exuberant, free-wheeling approach that got them where they are. Don’t believe me? Look no further than the conflict their official (or unofficial according to a statement by one of their press people recently) motto of “Do no evil” created for them when they announced that they would acquiesce to China’s limitations on the freedom’s of its citizens.

    Tangentially related is the fact that it will be FAR easier for a startup to create an application to take full advantage of future changes in technology than a company (Google) that has spent the last several years expanding an perfecting their system – I am by no means a programmer or engineer but it seems logical to me that scrapping everything and starting fresh just isn’t an option for Google.

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