TECH TALK: 2007 Tech Trends: 1. Google as Environment

As we look ahead to 2007, what are the key tech trends internationally and in India? We will look at five key global trends in technology. Next week, we will look at five India-centric trends.

The search and advertising game is over. Google has won. And it is now consolidating its position across other categories. The power which IBM and Microsoft once had is now Googles to savour. Google is not the competition it is the environment (as Rich Skrenta wrote recently). It has the potential to redefine computing for the Internet era, just as IBM and Microsoft did for the mainframe and desktop eras. Its core business of advertising via AdWords and AdSense generates enough cash for it to invest in new areas just like Microsofts Windows-Office combination did.

As Rich Skrenta puts it:

Google is the start page for the Internet

The net isn’t a directed graph. It’s not a tree. It’s a single point labeled G connected to 10 billion destination pages.

If the Internet were a monolithic product, say the work of some alternate-future AT&T that hadn’t been broken up, then you’d turn it on and it would have a start page. From there you’d be able to reach all of the destination services, however many there were.

Well, that’s how the net has organized itself after all.

From this position, Google derives immense and amazing power. And they make money, but not only for themselves. Google makes advertisers money. Google makes publishers money. Google drives multi-billion dollar industries profiting from Google SEM/SEO.

Most businesses on the net get 70% of their traffic from Google. These business are not competitors with Google, they are its partners, and have an interest in driving Google’s success. Google has made partners of us all.

Google’s next step: owning the rest of the page views on the net

Just as Microsoft used their platform monopoly to push into vertical apps, expect Google to continue to push into lucrative destination verticals — shopping searches, finance, photos, mail, social media, etc. They are being haphazard about this now but will likely refine their thinking and execution over time. It’s actually not inconceivable that they could eventually own all of the destination page views too. Crazy as it sounds, it’s conceivable that they could actually end up owning the entire net, or most of what counts.

The interregnum between the end of the PC era and the rise of the online world has concluded, and Google is the new king of forward market growth in computing and software technology. Major companies will succeed by working within the framework of Google’s industry dominance, and smaller players will operate in niches or in service to the giant.

Competitors cannot compete by trying to take on Google in search. While they can be incrementally better search approaches, they are not going to create the big winner of tomorrow. They have to look at the next platform after the desktop and the Internet. That is going to be the mobile. I believe that the mobile is not going to be about search and ads. What are going to be the killer apps on the mobile platform, and which Google will not easily look at because it could cannibalise its search business? Therein lies the answer to the next Google.

Tomorrow: Mobile Everything

TECH TALK 2007 Tech Trends+T

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.