Just about every company is afraid of Google these days according to the New York Times. Just Googling It is Striking Fear Into Companies.
Google’s recent moves have stirred concern in industries from book publishing to telecommunications. Businesses already feeling the Google effect include advertising, software and the news media. Apart from retailing, Google’s disruptive presence may soon be felt in real estate and auto sales.
Google, the reigning giant of Web search, could extend its economic reach in the next few years as more people get high-speed Internet service and cellphones become full-fledged search tools, according to analysts. And ever-smarter software, they say, will cull and organize larger and larger digital storehouses of news, images, real estate listings and traffic reports, delivering results that are more like the advice of a trusted human expert.
Internet search is in itself a disruptive technology. Google just does it better than anyone else and manages to make enormous sums selling contextual ads which funds more research into better search with better algorithms.
What companies are afraid of is the artificial intelligence of search engines as they become smarter and smarter. Except for Bill Gates who seems to thrive on what he calls “hyper competition,” saying the magic moment will come when Microsoft demonstrates its search is better than Google’s. But that moment will come in about a year or so. Isn’t that what Microsoft, the pioneer of vapor ware always says?
Still, apart from its front-runner status, Google is also remarkable for its pace of innovation and for how broadly it seems to interpret its mission to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
The company’s current lineup of offerings includes: software for searching personal computer files; an e-mail service; maps; satellite images; instant messaging; blogging tools; a service for posting and sharing digital photos; and specialized searches for news, video, shopping and local information. Google’s most controversial venture, Google Print, is a project to copy and catalog millions of books; it faces lawsuits by some publishers and authors who say it violates copyright law.
Search engines, combined with other technologies, have the potential to drive comparison shopping down to the shelf-by-shelf level…..”We see this huge power moving to the edge – to consumers – in this Google environment,” said Lou Steinberg, chief technology officer of Symbol Technologies, which supplies bar-code scanners to retailers.
Such services could lead to lower prices for consumers, but also relentless competition that threatens to break up existing businesses.
That’s why I bet this shift in power to the consumers will be known as The Google Economy.