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Google: Going, Going, Gone?

Google never seemed to have a chink its armor until its most recent quarter where earnings missed analyst targets, and their premature release caused a bit of a collapse that was only halted when trading was frozen.

That was just the opening for critics. CNBC smelled blood, and one of its reporters is now asking if Google will essentially disappear in "5-8" years. Really? Yup, that's the question.

The argument, spearheaded by investment professional Eric Jackson, goes like this: More and more search is on mobile devices, not PCs where Google is clearly king. And these machines are too small to display ads of any substance. And what ads there are aren't going for much money.

Mobile also opens the door for new approaches to search, approaches that other companies may invent.

The result is not that the company disappears, but loses most of its influence, relevance and power the way Yahoo! has.

Posted by Doug Barney on 10/24/2012 at 1:19 PM

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Reader Comments:

Thu, Oct 25, 2012 Rae Botsford

Like a couple of other people have mentioned, Google isn't exactly just search and ads. Google still has Android OS, which is growing, and if Apple keeps putting out weak offerings like Apple Maps over Google Maps, Android's going to win. As it is, iPhones using iOS 5 and earlier basically depend on Google Maps as well as YouTube (owned by Google), and Safari uses Google search by default. As much as I love my iPhone 4, if I couldn't use Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps, and Google search on it, it would be an unbearable and unacceptable smartphone - meaning, in a sense, Google has won. This will remain true if Apple continues its recent tendency to skate instead of innovate, as Google has hands in everything.

Thu, Oct 25, 2012

Just like all things, their turn in the sun is coming to an end, everything cycles in IT, and probably in the near future they will take their place with the other greats such as AltaVista, HotBot, Excite, WebCrawler, Ask Jeeves, Dogpile, Lycos. There will be a slimmer, sleeker, smaller product with innovation and a smaller price tag that will dominate the market, like IRA from the old Wonder Woman Series.

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 Jim IL

The fact that most Android users are logging in to their Google accounts, gives Google the opportunity to track activity and make their ads more pertinent to the users. They can also sell lists of potential clients to their partners. Then they charge businesses offering services through the Google API when the volume reaches a certain point.

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 John FL

Don't listen to industry pundits (sorry Barney). They have their heads so far up their arse, they couldn't reliably predict the sunrise. Mobile devices are here to stay for sure, but they are not replacing anything. They're just another tool in the toolbox. If anyone thinks for a second that PCs are going away, well they're just talking out of their orifice. Pay no attention to them.

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 Asif Mirza San Jose, CA

No, I dont think so. Google is now it's self a verb. My 8 year son uses the word "Googling" instead of search, and as far as he is concerned that is search (at least as far as the the internet is concerned). I dont know anyone who uses Yahoo or Bing, and is the default Home page of most people. Oh, and Android will never go away. Google will just find a better way to monetize it

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 Bryan S. Denver, CO

They know Google has the Android OS and that it is ruling the smartphone market, right?

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 EVVJSK

The problem with some companies is they never (or at least too often) know when to say when as far as being intrusive. I don't mind giving up a bit of freedom to get something for free as long as 1) I have opt in to it, instead of having to opt out of it if is is truely a case of privacy and 2) what the company DOES with the information is not too obtrusive (I don't want to get bombarded with 20 emails from 20 partners just because I search on "guttering" or some other topic. Amazon seems to do a good job of this. I have been looking for things on Amazon and a day or two later, I get ONE email from Amazon offering me a number of choices in that category. What I DON"T GET is 20 emails from 20 vendors directly trying to entice me to buy their product. If a company(Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Apple, RedmondMag, etc...) are going to gather the information, then take the responsibility to ask what would be in the Customers best interest for me to do with this information TO KEEP ME AS A CUSTOMER. Too often Companies ask themselves "how can I make a quick buck off of this and not worry about retaining this person as a customer". This may often be caused by Sales/Marketing (gotta hit that quarterely deadline this quarter, I will worry about keeping the customer happy next quarter) having too much control without oversite from customer advocates, upper management keeping an eye on the long term, etc... While not the only one, Facebook has struggled with this balance in the past (and will likely again). So far, I have been pretty happy with Google. That could always change.

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 Donny V

This is so silly. If you think this then you don't get Google. Google Search is platform agnostic.

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 Cris AZ

This explains the big fuss over "Do Not Track" settings in the browsers. Search engines and social networks won't be able to generate ad based revenue on mobile but they can sell information they have collected on users through browser tracking, search queries, and social networking habits.

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 Greg NY

If there's an opportunity somewhere, you can be sure Google will find a way to exploit it. Like Microsoft, Google has become a very big company, and it's harder for them to always be agile and leaders; also like Microsoft, it's a safe bet that they will use their heft where necessary to not only catch up but to crush the competition if they find they're falling behind in a key new area of opportunity.

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