Ars reports that Google has expanded its domination of search, with it winning more market share against competitors over the last 18 months. But don’t go blaring the monopoly warning horns just yet. As PFF’s Adam Thierer has argued, no tech company can maintain dominance for too long. As I showed earlier, people used to worry that Yahoo was the dominant website and that it would stay in its top spot forever.
And does anyone remember Altavista, AskJeeves, or Lycos? These companies seemed to be all that and a bag of chips in the late 90s, but where are they now? A couple of new guys with a bright idea came out of nowhere and beat the old firms (who were not that old). I will go on record here and now as saying: It is inevitable that the same thing will happen to Google. Though Google seems like an excellent place to work and I would love to be on their counsel team, in ten years (after I’ve graduated law school and gotten the necessary experience) Google will not exist – at least not as the dominant internet giant we know it today.
That is simply the nature of the new economy. Startup costs are too low, there’s too much money to be had, and too many brilliant minds are floating around for any firm to dominate forever. I cannot now predict what will beat Google – another search engine like Cuil, or some totally new internet model. After all, in the late 90s, who was talking about the whole internet revolving around search? And just five years ago, who was thinking of social networking services like Facebook and Twitter?
No one can say now exactly what the internet’s future holds, but we can be certain of one thing: the big players today will not be the big players tomorrow.