Google as All-Purpose Web Information Tool

Business Week writes on Google’s ambitions:

Taken to its logical extension of providing an interface for every popular service or sector on the Web, Google becomes the omnipresent middleman and a clear and present danger to just about any company that relies on the Internet for commerce. Which, increasingly, is every company in the developed world.

What’s becoming more and more clear, though, is advertising will be the primary revenue driver of the portals and aggregators. What Yahoo terms “marketing services” (read, advertising) accounts for nearly 75% of its most recent quarter’s revenues. Increasingly, advertising is hung around various forms of search. This explains why Microsoft is seeking to build its own Google-killer search engine and why Yahoo is expected to start using its own in-house software for Web searches — and to dump Google.

Google has decided that its customers should gather information through inputs of text search terms by using more or less the same simple interface to search for news, things to buy, or any other topic. That’s a small but important distinction. Google assumes that customers are smart enough to learn to search with words rather than with the graphical and pull-down menus used by most of its competitors. That’s an understandable bet. Google has gone from upstart to Internet star with a business plan based on that assumption.

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