Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Google’s dominance is always under pressure and siege

Google has created tremendous value added for users on the Internet. They have also been well rewarded for it. But many are afraid of the dominance of Google. That this force of good should turn into a force of evil - the reference is often here Microsoft. I do not think this is a danger. Even though Google has a strong position in search and will have that for a long time, the Cyberspace is vast and there is a lot of space for other competitive players.

Google is under pressure from many directions. As always it begins with the smaller things and changes in life -peripheral to the centrifugal search force in the centre.

New small players have to tread lightly. There is no use to try to play a hostile game when you are a new player in a big guy's playing field. Both from a market and a competitor perspective, it is better to build on the existing business ideas and innovate out of that.

I do not want to say that Google have spread themselves to thin. I think Google have to master many functions of the Internet market. That is one of the reasons to their success. But it is always difficult to defend the many angles of a fortress. It is even harder to innovate and develop all those angles. Here are four examples of angles of Google where new players innovate.

1 OneSpot and Feedly build and innovate on Google Reader.
2 Wordpress seems to innovate much more than Blogger is, and thereby attract the influential part of the blogger market.
3 Twitter and FriendFeed seem to have the upper hand of Google’s Jaiku.
4 Powerset and Cognition technologies try to be a part of the innovation of future search on the Internet, which Google now dominates.

I do not think that we should see these examples as just only scrap from the dominant's dinner table. Many important changes begin in the small. Why is it so difficult to defend all angles for the dominant player? Many players know intellectually the direction of the trends and what is needed in the market. But it is one thing to know and it is another to see how the next new thing should be played out in action. It is first when you act, you become aware of how it can be materialized.

Members of a big organisation have a lot of mental and physical restriction of their actions. Usually we call this history and tradition. This influence in form of “how we do things around here”, it tends to limit and funnel the members’ action into already known paths. This even if they are mentally capable to see these new paths. This situation creates possibilities for new small and innovative players. Paradoxical, this can also be good for Google itself, where it helps them to stay sharp. But most valuable is this situation for the consumer on Internet. Many new innovations will come out of this pressure on the market.

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