The New York Times published a very interesting discussion about Google and its effect on the Internet and the media. Attending the discussion were Ken Auletta, author of “Googled: The End of the World as We Know It” and Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist at Union Square Ventures and an early-stage investor in many Web companies, including Twitter. John Markoff, a reporter for The Times that has been writing about technology since 1976, was the moderator of the discussion.
Both Auletta and Wilson believe that the biggest potential threat to Google is coming from social networks like Facebook and Twitter. “Imagine you want to buy a camera. Would you rather have the advice of 20 friends whom you know and trust and who share their experience with cameras, or 20,000 or so links from a Google search?”, they explained.
The mobile Web represents another new user behavior. The use of apps on mobile devices is becoming the dominant form of content discovery and usage on the mobile Web. Google is aware of these threats and is working to address them, but it is not the dominant technology provider in social media (Facebook) or mobile (Apple).
There is no doubt that Google has a near-monopoly over the current form of Internet search and is still a very powerful tool. However, technology moves very quickly and one decade’s dominant monopoly may be the next decade’s fading giant.