June 30, 2008

Search: Game Over?

Filed under: Digital Distribution, Information Supernova — Robert John Ed @ 3:36 pm

John Battelle wants to call the fight for search. Google wins.

Well, in the short term he is absolutely right. No one will catch Google in terms of search currently.

The problem is that companies should be built for the long term. Sears and Roebuck was number 1. They started out selling watches to a rail road operator. They revolutionized distribution for the small business after figuring out there was money to be made by direct catalogs. Where are they now? Well they’re a brick and mortar. Brick and mortars everywhere have been undercut by Amazon, etc. A new type of distribution model. This is a cycle. It’s actually ironic that companies such as Sears evolved to build brick and mortars everywhere and were undercut by a new medium, just as catalogs had propped up their model.

The list of companies that had their day in the sun is numerous. Xerox, Apple and a few others have gone up and down. Most companies, once they hit their evolutionary speed bumps, don’t come back. Microsoft, to me, looks like they are facing some huge problems for the next 10-20 years. The internet is still in a very evolutionary time. Cloud computing and freeware are huge issues for them in the long term.

The point here is that nothing is over. It’s never over. No matter how huge your monopoly, no matter how sexy your gadget, share of wallet, mind share, positioning, market share, etc. IT’S NEVER OVER!

Companies realize this. Yet they can’t predict the future. Search will evolve. The way we search will evolve as the internet evolves. It will simplify, manipulate based on our preferences, evolve to be more useful. I’m not saying that Google won’t be on top of this. But they have to be aware that in business, there is no “game over.” It is an unending race with constantly changing terrain. You either have the lead or you don’t.

For now, they’ve got it.


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