Google: From the Disruptor to the Disrupted

June 17, 2008

I am a fan of ReadWriteWeb, and I found the essay by Bernard Lunn quite interesting. Mr. Lunn has identified the “11 Search Trends that May Disrupt Google.” makes it easy to locate its articles, so you can track this story down easily.

I found the list of factors that may be moving Google into a different role: from disruptor to a company that is itself disrupted. On the whole, I agree with the ReadWriteWeb analysis. Of particular importance is the notion of “start ups using a new outsourced infrastructure.” Powerset is an example of a company taking a different approach. I have heard that Powerset makes use of Amazon Web Services, and I think this is an important aspect of the company to monitor if my information is accurate.

The other point that I found on target is the impact tagging may have upon Google. Not long ago Vivisimo announced that its system made it possible for a user to add a tag–that is, index term–to an item in a result list. Tagging is becoming one of the everyday activities for those who write Web logs. The Semantic Web has been slow in coming, but I think the “social tagging” function may be providing some opportunities that search engines, including Google, have yet to exploit fully.

I would add one other point to the factors that are likely to influence Google–the challenge of size. Google is now 10 years old, and it is getting big enough to encounter the friction that plagues any large organization. Google, therefore, changes more slowly even though certain innovations make users gasp. A competitor can exploit Google’s own inertia but that competitor must take care to stay clear of Google’s momentum.

A happy quack for a useful and thought provoking write up, ReadWriteWeb!

Stephen Arnold, June 17, 2008


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