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Summary:

This past weekend a series of posts from some of the more influential bloggers prompted me to ask the question: do we trust Google? Results of our spot poll indicated that at least our readers were almost evenly split into three camps – those who trust […]

This past weekend a series of posts from some of the more influential bloggers prompted me to ask the question: do we trust Google? Results of our spot poll indicated that at least our readers were almost evenly split into three camps – those who trust the company, a third who are smart enough not to trust any corporation, and a third who view them as the new Microsoft, and hence don’t trust them.

Rich Skrenta, in his must read post arrives at the conclusion that in the third age of computing, Google is the king. And the king maker. Much like Microsoft in the PC era, and IBM in the mainframe era.

Skrenta, doesn’t implicitly state the fact that Google is not a mere search engine. As a company, its search service has caused a behavior change. This is the most important barrier to entry for all competitors and pretenders to the search throne.

There was a time, only a few years ago, when we would hoard bookmarks, saving them for a proverbial rainy day. Now, some of us keep them in our Del.icio.us containers, but mostly we just Google what we are looking for.

The search engine, despite its recent shortcomings has caused a “behavior” change among a large swathe of the world’s Internet population. We keep coming back to it, more and more often, looking for something…. anything really.

Take today for instance: a few friends wanted to grab a steak, but were not sure what steak house would be open on New Year’s Day. Three keywords and a zip-code later, we were eating at Bob’s Steakhouse, just a stone’s throw from my apartment. This query would have previously involved either a 411 call, or a quick look through the Zagat guide. Not anymore!

Who needs them when you have an always on high speed connection and Google? This is some sort of brain programming – the more you use it, the more you come are dependent on it. Despite the zero-friction switching options that might come up, it will be a while, before Google loses its dominance.

Sadly, it also reminds me of John Milton, so wonderfully portrayed by Al Pacino in The Devil’s Advocate. Why do I get a feeling that this is something we will debate, passionately and often in the coming year?

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  1. raghu ram prasad Tuesday, January 2, 2007

    hi,your story is very intersting.i love your way of writing

  2. I would like to vote in your Gigaom Poll on “The Trust Factor” for Google, but I feel you need to first add another option … “No, I do not trust them!”

    Why would they need to be “like (or the new) Microsoft” in order for me not to trust them? I trust Microsoft more than I trust Google! I do not think it’s fair to group them into a company that they are so different from.

    My vote = [x] No, I do not trust Google!

  3. Wanderings, Musings and Happenings from Ian on Singapore Tuesday, January 2, 2007

    Google is King but How Do We Define What it is King of?…

    Via Techmeme, I followed the interesting discussion about Google which I believe was sparked off by this post. Om Malik and Mitch Ratcliffe are two bloggers that have weighed in with their opinions about this dominance.
    I guess a valid question is how…

  4. Google is definitely the king and will likely remain so, but it needs competition to keep it honest and many people want supplementary services they can go to for a different look at a topic/keyword phrase.

    That’s why we at Bessed still feel there’s a place for human-powered search results. It’s not a plan to “kill” Google but to give a human-vetted option. In many ways people are already using Wikipedia in that way; we feel that in time we can provide another option for those who want the hand of a human involved in their search results.

  5. » Google search kingdom: Benevolent or despotic? | Digital Markets | ZDNet.com Tuesday, May 22, 2007

    [...] lively discussion the past week in the blogosphere about the seemingly unchecked power Google wields brought to mind a hackneyed cliché: [...]

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